Beach burglars target cars at Siesta Beach

5:13 PM, Sep 7, 2012   |    comments
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Since the beginning of the year, there have been 20 car burglaries



Sarasota, Florida - Ranked the nation's best, Siesta Beach is popular with tourists and locals alike.

"The sand is number one," says Ashley Bruce, taking advantage of a morning off.

"What isn't there to like?" questions Tim Izzo from Michigan. "The weather's beautiful; the sand is nice."

But there is a problem here in paradise. While beach visitors are taking a little sandy siesta - thieves are not. Since the beginning of the year, there have been 20 car burglaries that appear to be the work of a rather sophisticated group.

"It's usually a group traveling from beach to beach," explains Capt. Paul Richard of the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators say the beach burglars like to hit Chevrolet Impalas, a common rental car. They know how to quickly open the lock and the model allows the trunk to be popped without a key. The thieves usually take only credit cards and all of this takes place in just minutes.

"It is a pretty fast process," says Richard. "It's not something that would attract the attention of a passerby."

Then the thieves quickly go on a shopping spree. Sheriff's investigators have released surveillance video from a mall in Macy's that they say show a man and a woman buying things with a stolen credit card, which was taken from a vehicle parked at beach access #5.

Richard says the couple is most likely part of a group responsible for other thefts. "They'll quickly take that credit card, go to a mall or some electronics store and rack up charges, most often before the victim has even left the beach," he says.

The sheriff's office has increased patrols in the area and even put out bait cars to try and catch the burglars, but so far no arrests.

So for some folks, right along with their credit cards, the thieves have no doubt stolen a cherished mindset. As Bruce puts it, "Not a care in the world when you come out here."

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