Polk deputies investigating RV, camper burglaries

- The Polk County Sheriff's Office is investigating a trend in RV and camper burglaries that have left victims with thousands of dollars in damage and loads of missing possessions.

Since June, nearly 30 victims have reported burglaries and break-ins at 13 different locations throughout Polk County.

"They broke out the window and smashed [the door]. You can see all of the glass there on the ground," Ed Martin said.

His RV and several others parked at a storage lot on West Brannen Road were broken into last week.

Martin was lucky; nothing was taken, he believes, since his RV is parked in the back of the lot and away from the others.

"They lost tools, cash and alcohol," he said of the other victims.

Investigators have not connected a suspect to all of the burglaries, but many victims think the method of operation is the same.

"They cut through the fence in the back and came in," Gary Bentley said. "They came in on two different time frames."

Thieves tried to pry open the door to Bentley's fifth wheel twice. They were unsuccessful, but many of his storage lot neighbors weren't as lucky.

"They destroyed the door on that one... The one beside it got hit too... This is the one they busted the door out, and it still has the fingerprint markings on it. You can see the pry marks and they changed the lock out on it already," Bentley said while giving FOX 13 a tour of the property.

He said Polk County investigators have a picture of a suspect from a camera he had mounted on his camper, and in the incident reports it says there is surveillance video as well.

The sheriff's office released the following description:

Detectives believe the suspect responsible is a white male, 6 feet tall. If anyone has information about this trend they are urged to contact Detective Weinrich at 863-499-2400.

Anyone with information who wants to remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call 1-800-226-TIPS or log onto www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com. Anonymity is guaranteed.  iPhone and Droid users can download a free tip submit app to anonymously report crime. To install these free apps, please visit www.tipsoft.com.

Here's a list of the incident locations:

June 15-17, 2015 - suspect broke into six RV's parked at a storage facility located at 8315 US Hwy 33 North;

June 18-19, 2015 - suspect broke into an RV parked at 4755 Drane Field Road and stole two TV's, CD player, racing headsets, lawn chairs;

June 11 - July 7, 2015 - suspect stole six inverter batteries from RV's and trailers, and a bicycle;

July 9, 2015 - suspect broke into several RV's and trailers parked at facility located at 8315 US Hwy 33 North;

July 11-13, 2015 - suspect cut fence and broke into three RV's parked at 4851 Old Hwy 37 and stole walkie-talkies, a holster, and a knife;

July 15-18, 2015 - suspect broke window of motor home parked at 510 West Brannen Road;

July 19, 2015 - suspect cut fence and broke into six travel trailers and stole a battery from an RV parked at 455 Commerce Drive;

August 1-3, 2015 - suspect cut fence and broke into several RV's parked at 8110 US Hwy 98 North;

July 26 - August 10, 2015 - suspect broke into RV parked at 1718 South Combee Rd and stole a camera & DVD AV receiver;

September 20-21, 2015 - suspect broke into five RV's parked at 8250 US Hwy 33 North;

September 25, 2015 - suspect broke into RV parked at 9754 Cypress Lakes Drive and stole shoes and tools;

September 20-26, 2015 - suspect broke into RV parked at 3345 US Hwy 92 East;

October 1-2, 2015 - suspect broke into four RV's parked at 5849 West Brannen Road and stole a TV and wrench set.

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