Pinecrest police warn residents about 'car hoppers' who look for open doors

16 vehicles stolen in Pinecrest since beginning of year, police say


PINECREST, Fla. – Pinecrest police are warning the public about "car hoppers," who look for unlocked cars in residential areas.

Authorities said 16 vehicles have been stolen in Pinecrest since January. Eight of those vehicles had the keys inside and nine of them had been left unlocked.

The most recent car burglary was reported about 2 a.m. May 5 at a home in the 7100 block of Southwest 94th Street.

Police said surveillance video shows a man jumping a fence to get to a 2015 white Chevrolet Tahoe.

The man stole $18 in cash and coins from the vehicle. Police said he was unable to steal the Tahoe, but did leave the property by using the gate's remote, which was inside the car.

According to an incident report, the man was wearing a hoodie, shorts and sneakers. Due to the security camera's placement and focus, the man was not clearly seen, the report said. 

Newer car models offer keyless smart entry and a push button to start the car. Police said these features are enticing to thieves, because all that's required for the features to work is that the smart key be within close proximity to the vehicle.

To avoid becoming a victim of a car burglary or car theft, always lock your car and store car keys and any other remote devices in a safe place inside the home, police said.


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