Car thefts continue to be a troubling trend across South Florida

GOLDEN BEACH, Fla. – Video footage taken in Golden Beach was another example of the growing crime trend in South Florida of car thefts.

The trend was down during the ‘90s, simply because it became more difficult to steal a car, but since 2022, car thefts are up on a national scale, and there’s no sign of it letting up.

Surveillance video shows a person running up a driveway in Golden Beach to steal an SUV back in December. The door appeared to be unlocked and the criminal quickly backed out.

It took less than 10 seconds.

Just one month earlier, Local 10 News reported on juveniles stealing high-end cars from driveways, not only in Golden Beach, but throughout South Florida.

In the time since, officials said the crimes have not stopped.

Jeff Sonn is on the Golden Beach Security Committee and he said in this recent rash of thefts, there was one factor in common.

“In a lot of these high-end cars, when the mirrors are deployed out, that means the key fob has been left in the car,” he said. “We do know that a number of thefts were simply because of owners leaving the keys in the car.”

Less than two weeks ago, people living in Golden Beach were sent a bulletin announcing the arrests of four people who were allegedly attempting to steal a car on South Island.

The troubling crime trend turned violent over the weekend when Golden Beach police Sgt. Joshua Bautista was shot twice in the arm during a police pursuit involving a stolen car out of the Sunny Isles Beach area.

The trend stretches beyond South Florida.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, for the first time since 2008, vehicle thefts nationwide surpassed one million.

Florida ranks top five in the nation for car thefts, with close to 46,000 cars being stolen in 2022 alone.

About the Author:

Bridgette Matter joined the Local 10 News team as a reporter in July 2021. Before moving to South Florida, she began her career in South Bend, Indiana and spent six years in Jacksonville as a reporter and weekend anchor.