‘Tis the season for a spike in car burglaries. Tampa police are investigating a string of the quick crimes, and it's happening in some of the city's most prestigious zip codes.
Meghen Mullen's Jeep obviously had an unexpected visitor. Someone ransacked through her belongings Monday night, taking off with her GPS system and her sense of security.
"I feel bad if they were trying to get money for the holidays, but that's never the answer," she said Tuesday.
Unfortunately, it's a kind of crime that's common this time of year. Tampa police say at least seven cars were hit in the Hyde Park area Monday night alone.
Most of the cars were unlocked.
"It's typically a small group of kids who are going around to typically where there are a lot of cars parked," Tampa police spokesperson Andrea Davis said Tuesday.
In Monday night's case, the quick crime ended with three juveniles facing felony charges. Two of the suspects are just 14 years old.
Marti Simon says it was clear kids were the culprit, by the tiny fingerprints police pulled from her car.
"It was really disheartening to know it was a kid," she said.
She and her husband were just feet away when both of their cars were picked and prodded by the teens.
"We were probably eating dinner a window away from what was going on in our vehicles outside," Simon said.
Tampa police say keeping crooks away is as easy as locking up your loot, each and every time you leave your car.
"There's always something of value in your car. If it's valuable to you, it's valuable to a criminal," Davis said.
Criminals aren't sparing any part of the Bay area. Police say anyone with a set of keys could be targeted.
"You know you feel violated. You think you live in a great neighborhood, and we love where we live. It's just kind of scary that that happens in even the best neighborhoods in Tampa," Simon said.
Tampa police are increasing patrols around shopping malls, where this type of crime most frequently happens during the holidays. They also remind drivers to lock up valuables out of plain sight to lower your chances of becoming a victim of car burglary.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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