Smash-and-grab thieves target parents at local park

Smash-and-grab theft targets parent at local park
Posted at 10:26 PM, May 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-04 23:17:59-04

BRANDON, Fla. — Hillsborough County detectives are investigating a brazen crime at a local park.

"It just makes me very sad that someone would target a mother just simply trying to take her child to a park," said Natalie Lavdas. 

Lavdas tells ABC Action News, she was on the playground with her son for no more than 30 minutes when she returned to find her car broken into in broad daylight. 

"We work hard for our money then you got these guys out here that just coming in and thinking they can take what they want and get away with it," said Lavdas' boyfriend, Shawn Langley. 

The thieves got away with Lavdas' purse containing cash, credit cards, and her grandmother's century-old ring. 

"It was near and dear and an heirloom in the family," said Lavdas. 

Lavdas says the unknown culprits drained thousands of dollars from her savings account after impersonating her at a local bank. 

"My personal information is in somebody else's hands, it's a very unsettling feeling," said Lavdas. "Don't take it for granted what area you're in, how long you're going to be. There is no limits to these criminals."

Lavdas says they used her credit card at a nearby WaWa and bank. The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says it will release surveillance pictures on Monday. 

A Brandon-area child care center posted a warning to parents about the theft and a similar crime that occurred this week at another park.