Tampa Police investigate S. Tampa smash and grab auto burglaries

Posted at 6:03 PM, Sep 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-21 18:03:15-04

Tampa Police are investigating a small string of smash and grab car burglaries in the South Tampa area. One of them happened in the parking lot of the YMCA on South Himes Avenue. The other, just a block south in the parking lot of an apartment complex.

"The first reaction was 'I cannot believe this happened.'" Christina, whose car was broken into on September 9th in the parking lot of the YMCA, said. Christina asked us not to use her last name.

It was just after 9:30 in the morning when she pulled into the busy parking lot.

"When I pulled in, two other cars pulled out and more cars were pulling in," she explained. "So it was a very active parking lot."

She says she was inside for only about 30 minutes. When she came out, the back passenger window was shattered and her purse was gone.

"They must have seen me walking out of my car without my handbag," she said.

Christina is a mother of two and 8 months pregnant. She believes the crooks knew she was pregnant and had to have known she had children. She placed her purse on the floor on the rear passenger side, directly underneath a child safety seat. The thieves knew exactly where her purse had been placed. Her windows have a dark tint, so she believes they had to have had a vantage point from her front windshield. She thinks they watched her place her bag in the back seat before she stepped out of the car.

"Just to know that you could be going to the gym and someone's watching you," she said.

A spokesperson for the YMCA says they've had problems with break-ins before. They installed cameras in the parking lot in 2013, which seemed to put a stop to the thieves for a while. The YMCA says there have been two burglaries dating back about 3 to 4 weeks.