This story has been updated
By Sallie James
Car burglars who targeted seven vehicles in a Saturday morning crime spree in the Heathgate-Sunflower community should have smiled and waved: one homeowner’s security camera captured crystal clear images of one of a pair of burglars rifling through two vehicles in his driveway.
Home surveillance video from 4:05 a.m. shows what appears to be a male in a white hoodie and white sweatpants opening the door of the car that was parked in the 8200 block of Northwest 68th Avenue and looking around inside before moving to a nearby pickup truck and climbing inside. The first few seconds of the video briefly captures the image of a second person who disappears off the upper right of the video, crossing the street to a home where another vehicle was hit. The owners of the three vehicles said nothing appeared to have been taken.
The owner, whose video surveillance cameras captured the burglars in action, said he did not report his two break-ins to BSO because he was gone all day Saturday.
Five of the burglaries occurred in the 8200 blocks of Northwest 68th Avenue and Northwest 68th Terrace. BSO said all the vehicles that were targeted appear to have been unlocked.
“In most cases, our victims don’t lock their car doors. They forget or don’t do a double-check before they go to bed,” said Tamarac BSO Captain J.C. Cooper, the city’s district commander. “If you have a remote, click it before you go to bed. Remove all valuables from your vehicle and put them inside so you don’t become a target. People get relaxed.”
Residents in the 8200 block of NW 68th Ave. awoke on Saturday to find electronics and personal items strewn up and down the street from one end of the block to another. A resident walking her dog found a laptop and a hard drive lying in the grassy swale. Another found a portable WIFI device lying amid a dump of markers, work papers, and other personal items. A third neighbor found an iPad discarded on their front lawn.
Around the block, a cache of school papers, a textbook, and a gradebook had been dumped in the grass near a mailbox. The residents who found the discarded items were able to locate the owners before BSO arrived. All the recovered items were returned to the owners.
One of the biggest finds? A hard drive that contained the owner’s wedding photos. The bride — married just a year — was overjoyed.
BSO said prevention is the best medicine and advises residents to “lock it or lose it.”
“Cash, purses, wallets, jewelry, and cellular phones, especially when left plain view, are favored targets of car burglars,” proclaims a door hanger BSO is passing out. “Lock your car and park in a highly visible area. Do not leave keys inside your vehicle. Report suspicious activity immediately. In an emergency, call 911!”
“These things occur periodically with no rhyme or reason,” Cooper said. “We just have to be vigilant and be aware of our surroundings at all times. Our number one priority is for our communities to remain safe and free of crime, but we need your help … if you see something suspicious, do not hesitate to dial 911 for emergencies.”
Anyone with information about these burglaries is asked to call BSO. Non emergencies can be reported by dialing (954) 764-(HELP) 4357.
- Sallie James is a veteran reporter/blogger/copywriter who spent most of her writing career in South Florida, including 22 years at the Sun Sentinel. She has also freelanced for The Coastal Star, South Florida Gay News & Florida Weekly. Sallie is the mother of grown boy/girl twins, a Guardian ad Litem, an animal rescuer, and a longtime Tamarac resident. She earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism from Indiana University.
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