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50 car breaks-ins hit West Pasco in two weeks

Locking car doors could stop crime spree
Posted at 4:52 PM, Jun 20, 2016
Residents in one Holiday neighborhood woke up to find out thieves broke into several cars overnight.
 
That includes three different vehicles in Taylor Christensen’s front yard.
 
“We were going to look through them and the cops told us not to. So they can get fingerprints and everything,” she said.
 
In last couple of weeks, investigators said thieves broke into more than 50 cars in West Pasco County. Six were also stolen.
 
“I can’t really say I’m surprised. I hope they catch them,” Christensen said.
 
The break-ins are focused around the U.S. 19 corridor in Holiday but have also happened in recent months in Trinity, Land O’Lakes and Wesley Chapel.
 
Investigators said most of the suspects are juveniles, sometimes coming from other counties.
 
Surveillance cameras caught some of those teens in action.
 
In one case a suspect gave a middle finger to the camera.
 
When an area is targeted, the Pasco Sheriff’s Office said they do what’s called an enhanced neighborhood check.
 
They send deputies door to door and put up an electronic sign with the message that could stop these crimes: “Lock your doors, keep what’s yours.”
 
“We could literally reduce this by over 90 percent by simply having our citizens cooperate and protecting themselves from this crime of opportunity. And the real simple way to do that is to lock your doors,” Capt. Mike Jenkins said.
 
“We usually leave them unlocked. We never really have this issue,” Christensen said.
 
The Sheriff’s Office said while locking your doors is the easiest fix, they are working to identify prolific offenders and hoping for laws to change to increase penalties for those who continue to steal.
 
“We don’t view this as an insignificant crime. If you continue to do it, we will fight to have you adjudicated as an adult. And instead of JDC you will go to big boy jail,” Jenkins said.
 
Investigators said they have caught some of the thieves.
 
But to help find more, always report any suspicious behavior in your neighborhood.