Brazen Car Break-Ins at Belle Terre Swim and Racquet, Frieda Zamba Pool and County Park
FlaglerLive | August 24, 2015
For months, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office has been cautioning residents to prevent break-ins, especially car break-ins, by first locking doors: the overwhelming majority of break-ins have been crimes of opportunity, with vehicle doors left unlocked or windows left open.
Over the weekend, however, the break-ins were more brazen and destructive: thieves smashed in at least five vehicles’ windows at three county and city parks or clubs and in one private driveway in the B-Section, stealing purses, money and credit cards.
One theft took place at mid-afternoon Saturday at the beleaguered Belle Terre Swim and Racquet Club. When a patron returned to her black 2011 Jeep Patriot about three hours after getting there, the front driver’s side window had been smashed in. A white cosmetic bag with miscellaneous make up and cosmetics was stolen from the cup slot in the center console. The car owner had locked the door before going into the swimming pool.
Less than an hour later, deputies were again called to the parking lot of the Swim and Racquet Club for another break-in, another broken car window, this time to a blue 2013 Ford F-150. The smashed in window in this case was mostly in one piece because of the window tint. It was on the driver’s seat. The owner’s wallet was stolen from the center console, and with it some credit cards and a driver’s license. The alarm was on for the vehicle, but is only activated when a door is opened. One of the stolen credit cards was used at the Citgo gas station in Palm Coast at 3:35 p.m. that day, the bank informed the car owner when he called to cancel the cards.
The lifeguard on duty said there are no surveillance cameras at the Belle Terre Swim and Racquet Club, and that no suspicious activity had been detected that afternoon. But the deputy checked surveillance footage at the Citgo station around the time when the credit card was used there, but with little success: “After checking the surveillance videos,” the deputy reported, “it appears there were several vehicles at the gas pumps using debit cards during the time the stolen debit card was reported to have been used. The store manager was unable to access the system to check the debit card numbers used at the gas pumps. Also two of the gas pumps are not visible from the surveillance videos; therefore, it is unknown if there was vehicles at the gas pumps using debit cards at that time.”
Later the same afternoon, the break-in scene had shifted to Frieda Zamba pool, where at 5:30 p.m. a woman returned to her vehicle to notice the front passenger window on her friend’s vehicle next to hers had been shattered. The woman had arrived there for a children’s party starting at noon. Neither woman had noticed suspicious activity or heard glass breaking that afternoon. A purse was stolen from the 31-year-old victim’s car, though cash and house keys were left untouched in the car. The purse had been left on the front passenger side floorboard.
“The front passenger side window appeared to be hit with a solid object due to marks left on the shattered glass that was somewhat intact in the front passenger seat due to the window tinting,” the incident report states. “There were no signs of blood anywhere inside the vehicle or near the area of impact on the window.” The car owner did not want the vehicle processed for evidence. But two boys walking along Parkview Drive the next afternoon reported to police that they’d found a purse in the wooden lot near the intersection with Plain View Drive: it was the victim’s.
Later that evening a deputy was dispatched to Hershel King Park off of Colbert lane in palm Coast where a woman reported parking her car at 7:05 p.m. She returned to the car at 7:20 p.m. only to find $40 and a Mastercard belonging to her fiance missing, and the front driver’s side window smashed out. “This was all the money we had to take care of our two children until we get paid next,” the woman wrote FlaglerLive. “My son has a heart condition and is 4 and I have a 5 month old daughter.”
The incident report notes that the credit card was reported used at a SunshineStore in Ormond Beach not long after the theft, charging $13.44. The 25-year-old victim reported seeing two black “unknown males (one approximately 6 feet tall, wearing a black shirt and afro-like pony tail hair),” after parking at the park, and that they were “with a white female who was seated in the front driver side of
a white town car (older model, unknown make).”
One additional break-in by smashed window took place, either late that night or early Sunday, this time not fitting the profile of the previous three: it did not take place at a park or on public property, but at 38 Bruce Lane in Palm Coast. Thieves broke a hole in the front driver’s side window, causing about $200 in damage, and stole a satchel-style purse valued about about $180. A wallet with cash, credit cards and other valuables was left in the vehicle.