Clearwater police warn of smash and grab break-ins

Posted at 5:19 AM, Oct 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-26 07:03:47-04

A brazen thief, targeting mothers in broad daylight!

Clearwater police is sending out a warning to women to be on the lookout after a rash of smash and grab break-ins.

Four victims were hit in the parking lot of Heritage United Methodist Church. ABC Action News was told that parents with kids who attend a nearby school park in the church lot to drop off and pick up kids. Investigators report the suspect is apparently hitting vehicles the with purses in plain view.

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Investigators told ABC Action News it appears the suspect goes right for the purses inside and nothing else. In one case they left behind several cell phones and in another they left behind a laptop.

The latest incident happened Monday afternoon, but police report break-in's at several other locations around the Countryside community in Clearwater.

Church workers told ABC Action Mews the crimes happened instantly.

“It’s like, you know, ‘I’m just going to be gone a second and it doesn't take very long," said Janeane Briseno.

At least one other break-in happened at a popular dog park not far from the church.

Police stress this is another example of why you should be aware of your surroundings.

Signs have been posted around the church warning people not to leave valuables behind in cars, even if the car is locked.