Vehicle burglars sought

Posted on July 29, 2016 by Mat Pellegrino

The Gulf Breeze Police Department and the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office are looking for any information regarding a string of vehicle burglaries that occurred over the last two weeks where several men were observed smashing several vehicle windows and stealing purses and other valuable personal items located inside of the vehicles..
Last Wednesday at around 6 p.m., several suspects were observed
busting three vehicles’ windows in the vicinity of the
Gulf Breeze Community Center. The suspects appeared to be targeting vehicles with purses in them that were in plain sight, according to a GBPD spokesman.
“Two of them (burglaries) were in the same parking lot (by the Gulf Breeze Community Center) and a third was by the disc golf course,” said Sgt. Steph Neff with the Gulf Breeze Police Department.
Neff said the two law enforcement agencies are teaming up to find the suspects responsible for the vehicle burglaries. Neff said the suspects were seen driving off from the crime scenes in a white Nissan four-door vehicle.
The same males were reported targeting vehicles in the Holley by the Sea Recreation Center parking lot the same day, and other south end parking lots.
“They targeted more than just the (Holley by the Sea) Rec Center,” SRSO spokesman Sgt. Rich Aloy told South Santa Rosa News. “There were several throughout the county that happened that same night around 6 p.m.”
In addition, Aloy told South Santa Rosa News that the SRSO had been getting numerous reports of vehicle break-ins prior to last Wednesday night’s crime spree, although he was not sure whether they were all committed by the same individuals.
“Between Friday, July 15 and Wednesday, July 20 (we had) six smash-and-grab vehicle burglaries occur in the south portions of Santa Rosa,” Aloy said. “All (of these occurred) in parking lot areas of various businesses. The majority of these incidents (occurred) between 5:30 p.m.. and 8 p.m.”
After investigating cell phone photos that witnesses took of the suspects’ vehicle, the sheriff’s office was able to determine the plates on the vehicle had been stolen from another car.
“In the majority of these incidents, the vehicle involved was described as a white Nissan Altima 4-door car with a Florida Wildlife Foundation tag. It was subsequently determined the tag was stolen,” Aloy said.
The SRSO spokesman said that the best thing residents can do in the future is report suspicious activity to the sheriff’s office.
“If someone sees a suspicious vehicle or a vehicle that doesn’t belong in an area, give us a call,” Aloy said. “We rely on that information.”
Furthermore, Aloy warned residents to make sure they hide all of their valuables in their vehicles or take them with them­— even if their vehicle is locked.
“Do not leave valuables in plain sight, lock your car and take your belongings. If you need to leave something behind, place the items in your trunk. Never leave anything in your vehicle which cannot be replaced,” Aloy said.
Anyone with information on the vehicle burglaries is asked to call the SRSO at (850) 983-1100.