Rise in car break-ins in Punta Gorda could be solved with one click

Reporter: Erika Jackson Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
car breakins
Credit: Punta Gorda Police

Neighbors in Punta Gorda let their guard down. What is typically known as a safe and quiet area became a target for thieves.

Surveillance video from a Punta Gorda home shows thieves taking a car for a spin. The owners left the doors unlocked and made it even easier for the thieves by leaving the key fob inside the car.

Lieutenant Dylan Renz is with the Punta Gorda Police Department. “Every vehicle burglary that we’ve had has been an unlocked vehicle and every vehicle theft, the keys have actually been in the car,” Renz said.

If that isn’t enough, check out this footage. The attempted burglar checks both cars and noticed all the doors are locked. The getaway car was ready to drive away.

“When they come across a locked vehicle, they immediately just move on,” Renz said.

One-click of a button could prevent you from the shock of having your valuables or your car stolen.

Chris Crowley is one of seven people who had his car stolen in Punta Gorda since January.

“I come out to my driveway and as I speak to him I realize I’m standing where my car should be,” said Crowley.

30 people in the city had valuables such as wallets, cash and weapons stolen from them.

“These are not organized criminals. These are mostly kids who are looking for an easy target,” said Renz.

Lt. Dylan Renz says the thieves come to Punta Gorda from Saint Petersburg, Bradenton and other places because of the city’s reputation for being safe. His theory is that that reputation causes people to let their guard down.

“The individual was arrested, had it searched for safe neighborhoods nearby in his phone prior to committing the crimes,” Renz said.

Crowley has a valuable tip so that you won’t be the next victim. “Don’t leave anything valuable in the car no matter how safe your neighborhood is,” he said.

Click your keys and lock the doors or pay the price.

Punta Gorda Police are working with other law enforcement agencies to identify those responsible for the crimes.

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