Ponte Vedra residents see rash of vehicle break-ins

By Scott Johnson, General assignment reporter, sjohnson@wjxt.com
Published On: Jun 03 2014 10:51:42 PM EDT
Updated On: Jun 03 2014 11:40:00 PM EDT

A neighborhood crime alert in St Johns County: nearly a dozen cars broken into over the weekend. Where it's happening and what the crooks are getting away with.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -

Multiple cars have been hit with break-ins in Ponte Vedra Beach in recent days with the thieves stealing phones, cash and even expensive wallets.

Channel 4 acquired 11 reports from the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office that were filed on Monday detailing break-ins in the last few days, and some victims said there were even more break-ins.

Some occurred outside the Publix on Palm Valley Road and there were also multiple reports of vehicle break-ins inside Marsh Landing Country Club, which is a gated community.

The thieves have apparently used at least two different approaches – looking for unlocked cars or smashing the windows of locked cars – to take what they wanted from the vehicles.

Laura Thornton was going to a graduation party and parked her car late Saturday night at the Publix on Palm Valley Road. When she returned for her car, she found it was one of several that had been broken into.

“I'm kind of frustrated with myself because I wasn't sure if I locked my car or not,” Thornton said. “Partly my fault, but if I (had) locked my car, they probably would have smashed my window, too, like they did my friend's, so I guess it was a blessing in disguise.”

Thornton said her Louis Vuitton wallet was stolen.

The SJCSO has seen numerous cases like these in recent months, but officers said it's becoming easier for them to catch the thieves.

“We're finding more and more with social media and surveillance that really we're starting to catch on to them more and more these days,” said Sgt. Catherine Payne with the SJCSO. “(The) past couple of rings that we've had within St. Johns County, we've been very successful in identifying those suspects.”

Anyone with information about who's responsible for the break-ins can call Crime Stoppers of Northeast Florida at 1-888-277-TIPS.

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