14 car break-ins put St. Pete police on alert

Posted at 10:00 AM, May 12, 2016

St. Pete police are sending out a warning to car owners after a series of smash and grab burglaries in the area. 

Most of these crimes occurring in public areas all around town -- from parks to recreation centers, even the local mall.

Since May 5, police have seen 14 of these break-in burglaries. They appear to be crimes of opportunity. If crooks see something they want, they simply smash windows and go right in.

A rash of recent car burglaries here in St. Pete has local police sounding the alarm.

"A thief is a thief," driver Judy Givens told ABC Action News.

Givens isn't too shocked. She warns that crooks are always on the lookout.

"Just like we get up to go to work in the morning, they get up to go steal in the morning," said Givens.

Investigators say that over the past week, thieves have hit area shopping centers and parks, anywhere there may be an easy mark.

They've taken everything from purses to cell phones, anything in plan view.

Police told ABC Action News that the most important thing you can do is keep those valuables out of plan sight. Make sure you put bags and other items in the trunk and keep it locked.

Police are also warning drivers to park in well-lit areas, and if possible, near the front door.

Givens also has a bit of advice:

"Lock your stuff up. Cover it up. Take it with you. Be smart," said Givens.

At this point, police aren't sure if the same crooks are behind these break-in burglaries. That is something they'll be looking into.