Crawfordville, Florida (Press Release) --
Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office investigators solved seven cases of “car hopping” with the recent arrest of five juveniles, according to Sheriff David Harvey. The vehicle burglaries were reported from Aug. 10 to Aug. 24 in the Wakulla Gardens area of Crawfordville and the Wakulla Station area.
Three male juveniles were charged with vehicle burglary and grand theft. They are 16 and 17-years-old. Two female juveniles were also charged. They are both age 15. All of the juveniles live in the Crawfordville area.
The victims in the cases reported the loss of GPS units, CDs, telephones, jewelry, a purse, baseball bat, white tail bow, tow rope and sunglasses. Most of the stolen property has been recovered. The youths went into unlocked vehicles and removed property. One of the juveniles told detectives that the youths spent four hours walking around the Wakulla Gardens area looking for unlocked vehicles.
The victims who reported losses live at Savannah Road, Ann Circle, Dolly Drive, Comanche Trail, Mohave Road and Dorothy Loop.
“Car hopping is a difficult crime to solve,” said Det. Jeremy Johnston. “They go into unlocked cars and take whatever they can find. The best way to prevent this is to lock your vehicle and don’t leave valuables in plain view inside your car.”
Investigators have determined that the juveniles got into 17 vehicles, although not all of the vehicles contained property, and in some cases the crimes were committed while the victims were inside their homes watching television, added Det. Johnston.
Ultimately surveillance video was used to help identify some of the juveniles and interviews led law enforcement officials to confirm the identities of the remaining juvenile suspects. “It was a team effort,” said Det. Johnston.
The investigation is continuing.