Manatee deputies cracking down on neighborhood burglars

- They arrive at night, often in groups, and search for an easy target like an unlocked car. 

Thieves are prowling neighborhoods across Manatee County, and just about everywhere in the state, but Manatee County Sheriff' Office says enough is enough. 

Deputies have opened a burglary task force to crack down on the problem. 

Dave Bristow, with the sheriff's office, says the unit is using specific analysis of these crimes to reveal patterns of when and where thieves strike.

Bristow says vehicle break-ins have gone up 44 percent. 

Surveillance cameras captured a group of men Wednesday night in a spot where five vehicles were burglarized and one was stolen. 

About 650 cars have been broken into already this year. That's 200 more compared to this time last year. 

Deputies point out most of the burglaries could have been prevented. Ninety percent of the break-ins happened to unlocked vehicles. 

"We've been preaching this for quite some time. You've got to lock your car," said Bristow. 

Deputies will be on the lookout, saturating neighborhoods and, hopefully discouraging thieves by encouraging folks to lock their doors. 

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