Pembroke Pines YMCA target of car burglaries

Members call burglaries an ongoing problem

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – Car burglars are targeting the YMCA in Pembroke Pines, and officials say this isn't the first time.

Members of the YMCA call it an ongoing problem -- burglars smashing their windows, breaking into their vehicles and stealing expensive items like iPads. Even a Rolex was snatched from a car earlier this month. 

A mother of three came forward to share her story in hopes no one else would become a victim. 

"I figured if I just had it in the back where no one can see it, then it is fine," said a  woman identified only as Khadra.

Last month, Khadra, the mother of three, was inside the YMCA in Pembroke Pines, working out with her children when someone broke into her SUV. She didn't know until she and her son walked outside

"My son was trying to sit in the front and he just froze because the whole passenger side was completely shattered," Khadra said. "I had my purse in the back seat under the chair, but they found it and took it."

"(A few days later) I got a call from the bank saying that there was girl that looked like me trying to withdraw money," Khadra said. "She had my ID and debit card."

"Had those items not been left in the car, then they wouldn't have been the easiest target for that bad guy to break into their vehicle," police Capt. Al Xiques said.

Since January, Pembroke Pines police have investigated nearly a half dozen smash-and-grabs in the parking lot of the YMCA.

On Wednesday, Local 10 News walked the parking lot with police, and it didn't take long before we found people who had made a big mistake.

"I'm looking into this car and I see an iPod right there," reporter Michael Seiden said. "That's a very soft target for burglars," Xiques said. "If someone wants to have an iPad, all they have to is break this window and it is theirs."

For the first time, warning signs are now popping up all over the property, something members say is long overdue.

"It is very frustrating that it can happen here and it is scary," one member said.

In an emailed statement the YMCA said that they take safety seriously and is working with police. 

"The YMCA takes the matter of keeping our facilities and their surroundings secure for our members and those we serve seriously. Over the past few months, the Y has been working with the Pembroke Pines Police to help put a stop to theft in our parking lots through various means, including undercover operations and increased patrols and police visibility," the YMCA's statement said. "We also encourage all members and program participants, via signage inside and outside of our facility, to take their valuables with them and keep their vehicles secure at all times. We will continue working with both the City and Police to keep the Y a safe place for those we serve and their property."

Police said they don't have any suspects in the burglaries, but are reminding people to take their personal belongings with them.

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