Teen crimes happening at start of summer break

- Schools across Bay Area released for the summer less than two weeks ago. Since then, crimes involving teenagers have been occurring across the area.

St. Petersburg police are searching for three teens involved in a burglary at Sam's Food Mart on Central Avenue. Surveillance cameras recorded the teens breaking into the business on Saturday.

"You see them on video chunk a piece of concrete through the front door. They go in. They steal a bunch of cigarettes and lighters," said Rick Shaw, spokesperson for the St Petersburg Police Department.

The teens loaded up a bag with about $1,000 worth of merchandise before fleeing the store when a burglary alarm sounded.

According to police, the weekend burglary is the second time in the last week that the teens have broken into the same store.

"It's the same three, we believe. Teens, probably between the ages of 15 and 18," said Shaw.

Authorities in Hillsborough County, meanwhile, are searching for two teens in Riverview who tried to use fake money to buy an iPhone from a teen girl. They fled the restaurant when her father got suspicious about the fake bills.

Polk County detectives recently solved a nearly identical crime involving teens.

Authorities in St. Pete said during summer and Christmas break when students are out of school, is typically when they see a slight increase in crime, but it's difficult to say if the crime is a direct result of school being out.

Crimes that often spike during the summer include bicycle thefts, car burglaries, and vandalism cases.

In New Port Richey, a group of students broke into Seven Springs Middle School the weekend of May 27, just one day after Pasco County School let out for the summer.

The students smashed TV screens, computer printers, and book shelves. They also sprayed the cafeteria with fire extinguishers.

Authorities say residents should avoid becoming the victim of a "crime of opportunity," by making sure their garage doors are closed and vehicle doors are locked. They also encourage parents to make sure they're monitoring their children.

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