Police: Vehicle burglaries result of unlocked cars

- Drivers parking in downtown Sarasota seem to have a false sense of security. Police say they're not locking their car doors.

"I assume that I am safe because I am in a parking garage," driver Jason Cline told FOX 13 News.

Cline works downtown. In spite of his sense of security, he said the first thing he does inside a parking garage is hit the lock button.

"I have to lock my door because I drive an electrical van, but I always lock my vehicles because of the sheer fact that no vehicle is really safe," he said.

Many other drivers are not so careful. Police said they don't understand why so many people leave their doors open for thieves.

"I wish knew because if I did we would solve that problem and wouldn't be here," said Captain Corrie Stannish.

Officers say it is time to wise up. On Tuesday, they caught a group of thieves in the act and arrested and, Matthew Gunn, and 3 juveniles.

"They are going around just checking car handles," said Captain Stannish.

Officers said the group skipped school and went downtown. They hit BB&T, Hollywood 20 and Wells Fargo bank parking garages; pulling on car handles and taking whatever they could.

"They took Apple iPods, money, car chargers, cigarette lighters - things like that," said Captain Stannish.

The group got into about 40 cars over the last two days. Sarasota Police said they haven't heard from any victims, but hope some will come forward.

"Please realize how important it is to take that one second to lock your car and also you are not bothering us if the car has been rifled through. We want to know what activity is going on in our area," said Captain Stannish.

Police said they find themselves repeating this reminder, over and over. They say, it's just a matter of common sense.

"Lock your doors. That is the only thing you can really do," said Captain Stannish.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact Detective Dwayne Shellhammer at 941-954-7014 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS (8477). 

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