Car break-ins have continued in 2017 after numbering 456 in 2016 and 377 in 2015, according to police records.
There are two types of break-ins, according to incident reports. Thieves are known to check for unlocked cars in driveways, usually at night. In “smash and grab” crimes, culprits break vehicle windows in parking lots and then make a quick get-away.
Police say the best defense is to remove valuables and lock doors. Officials are especially concerned about firearms being stolen because they get into the hands of criminals.
On Jan. 5, a visitor from Eustis returned to her car parked about noon at Fortunato Park, located at the northeast corner of the Granada Bridge, to find the passenger window broken out and her purse missing.
She had left the car at 10:15 a.m. and returned about noon. Missing, along with her purse, was a Ruger .357 Magnum revolver.
Police collected fingerprints and the smashed window for processing.
On Jan. 1, a car was burglarized at a fitness center at 910 S. Atlantic Ave. The victim said she placed her purse under the seat before going into the building to exercise at about noon. When she returned 20 minutes later, she found the driver-door window smashed in and her purse missing. The purse contained credit cards, debit card, driver’s license and gift cards.
While processing the car, the officer noted that markings indicated the suspect wore examination-type gloves.
On Jan. 4, a visitor from Port Orange said she had been at the same location and a couple of hours later noticed her wallet was missing. It had been between the driver’s seat and console. She said she may have left the car unlocked.
The wallet contained her driver’s license, Social Security card and two debit cards.