Rash of Palm Coast Burglaries Targets Elderly and Jewelry in Sea Colony and Grand Haven
FlaglerLive | March 6, 2015
A spate of burglaries in 48 hours has targeted property owners on the barrier island’s Sea Colony and in Grand Haven Wednesday and Thursday. The burglaries have at least two factors in common: the burglars are focusing exclusively on jewelry or valuable silverware. And their victims are all older, or elderly.
The thefts, some of which entailing break-ins and some of them not, are taking place in daylight, either during brief absences by the homeowners or, in one case, while a resident was working in her yard.
On Wednesday a deputy was dispatched to 1 Via Salerno in Palm Coast where to a burglary. Upon my arrival I made contact with Fred and Nora Greenblatt, 77 and 62, reported finding the front door unlocked after they’d left the house and returned in early afternoon. The dresser drawers in the master bedroom were pulled out. When Nora went to put her jewelry away, she noticed someone had been in her closet. The light was on in the bathroom and closet. All of her jewelry was missing from the jewelry box in her closet and in the bathroom. The value of the missing jewelry: $50,000.
Two of the french doors leading to the pool area were unlocked, the deputy investigating the scene noticed, even though the owners say they keep the doors locked at all times, and had made sure of it before leaving. But there were no pry marks on any of the windows or doors. The gate door for the yard was also unlatched. None of the other rooms in the residence appeared to be tampered with. Nora and Fred stated that they keep the french doors locked all the time and when they left, Nora made sure that the front door was locked.
Units from the sheriff’s Investigative Services Division responded because of the recent increase in burglaries in the area and assisted with the canvassing of the neighborhood.
The same deputy who investigated the Via Salerno burglary soon was dispatched to another burglary call, at 2 Via Bellano, within short walking distance of the Via Salerno house.
There, Nancy Brosche, 61, told the deputy that her 84-year-old mother had left the house a little after noon and returned just before 3 p.m., while Brosche herself had been working outside on the lawn during that time, with the garage door open. When Nancy Brosche went inside to use the restroom she heard a noise, but though it was the cat and went back outside to work on the lawn.
At about 1:30 p.m., as she went to the front of the property to pick up a tool she’d left there, she noticed a parked vehicle on Via Marino under a tree, next to the residence there. As Brosche was looking at the car, it did a U-turn and took off in a hurry, according to the incident report, made a left turn on Camino Del Rey Parkway and blew through the stop sign at Via Marino and Camino Del Rey.
Brosche thought the whole thing unusual but went back to work, and later noticed the cat outside in the front yard. The front door was open. When Brosche returned home she noticed her jewelry tray that was in her dresser was on the floor with some scattered jewelry. The tray was filled with miscellaneous women’s jewelry. Most of it was missing. At that point Brosche realized someone had burglarized the house and taken the jewelry. None of the other rooms in the house were touched. The value of the stolen jewelry: $3,500.
Brosche described the vehicle she’d observed earlier as a small two door box maroon type vehicle
Later that evening, deputies were dispatched to 9 Village View Way in Grand Haven–several miles south–and were faced with the same pattern. Robert Finder, 81, told police that he’d left the house in late afternoon for the community gym and returned in early evening. He was preparing dinner when he discovered his silverware was missing from the top kitchen drawer. The top drawer contained a six-person set of sterling silver silverware worth $5,000). The bottom drawer contained a 12-person stainless steel silverware that was also missing (with a value of $75).
Finder spoke to his wife then checked the rest of the house and discovered that A diamond ring crafted in 1937 of a two-ring platinum, with a single center 1-carat diamond and baguettes on either sides, was missing from the left master bedroom nightstand. Its value: $4,000. Finder reported additional jewelry items stolen, but the incident report, which is slightly redacted, does not include those.
Deputies found no forced entry to the residence and believe the rear slider door was left unlocked. The security alarm was not armed.
The jewelry theft rash continued into Thursday.
Just after 4 p.m., a deputy was dispatched to 3 Bedford Place in Palm Coast’s Sea Colony where the victims, James and Kay Chafee, 76 and 80, reported that someone had entered their house between 1 and 4 p.m. that day and stolen numerous jewelry items. The couple had noticed the missing jewelry when James, after returning home with his wife, went into the master bedroom to put her jewelry away and noticed the dresser drawers open.
The jewelry armoire had been raided, as was a jewelry box on top of the dresser. The robbers had gone into the master bedroom closet and opened some of the wall cabinets. They’d tried to open another closet in the spare bedroom. But as in the previous robberies, only the jewelry was taken. Its value: More than $4,000.
Checking the exterior of the residence, a deputy noticed pry marks on a door leading to the porch. The door was partially open. Further investigation revealed pry marks on the sliding glass door, which leads into the master bedroom. The sliding glass door was closed but unlocked. Deputies believe it was the robbers’ point of entry and exit.
The scene was photographed and processed by the sheriff’s office’s crime scene technician. The investigation into the burglaries is continuing.