Police in Fort Lauderdale warn residents after increase in car thefts

The Fort Lauderdale Police Department is warning residents after an increase in vehicle thefts.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Fort Lauderdale Police Department is cracking down on vehicle thefts.

Last year, nearly 900 vehicles were stolen in the city, a seven percent increase from 2019.

These days, most vehicles don’t require a key, just a fob. But if you leave it in your car, anyone can drive off with it.

Unfortunately, police said too many people are making that mistake, and thieves are taking advantage.

Home surveillance video captured hundreds of vehicle thefts across the city of Fort Lauderdale last year.

“Auto thefts have been on the rise through the past couple years,” said Fort Lauderdale Police Det. Tim Shields. “It has been an ongoing trend, not only in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, but nationwide.”

Surveillance video captures car thieves in Fort Lauderdale. (WPLG)

Detectives explained the crooks know exactly what they’re looking for. They are targeting high end cars that may be unlocked with a key fob left inside. But how would they know which cars were open?

“A lot of times they are searching for the mirrors that are not tucked in, that means that the car is more than likely unsecured,” said Det. Shields.

Resident John O’Flaherty said he made the mistake of leaving his key fob in his vehicle, which led to his car being stolen.

“Car drives by, stops, backs up…they spotted the mirrors that were not folded in, guy jumps out of the car and peels out in like five seconds,” said O’Flaherty.

His message to drivers, so they don’t make the same mistake:

“Don’t feel sorry for me because I was the idiot that left the keys in the car, and you don’t want to let that happen to you,” O’Flaherty said.

Fort Lauderdale police have also launched the Where’s Your Fob? campaign with hopes that residents will be more aware of removing their keys from their vehicle before leaving it unattended.

“The more attempts that they have where they are not gaining (access to) these cars, it will force them to move to other neighborhoods that will decrease crime in our city and hopefully we can spread the word to our neighboring municipalities as well,” said Det. Shields.

Police also provided some additional tips to keep from falling victim of car theft or burglary:

  • Remove all personal belongings
  • Take keys with you
  • Always lock the vehicle

About the Author:

Roy Ramos joined the Local 10 News team in 2018. Roy is a South Florida native who grew up in Florida City. He attended Christopher Columbus High School, Homestead Senior High School and graduated from St. Thomas University.