FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Police are searching for a burglar who, they said, broke into vehicles in Fort Lauderdale’s Sailboat Bend neighborhood six times in the past 30 days.
Surveillance video shows the subject, seen wearing a hoodie and a baseball cap, walking with a limp and with his hands behind his back as he approached resident Jason Schaber’s home, located off Las Olas Boulevard, near Downtown Fort Lauderdale, back in December.
The burglar is seen pulling on door handles of two cars. The homeowner said the thief got away with several personal items, including an expensive smartphone.
“I have lights and signage, security lights, cameras, everything,” said Schaber. “Didn’t faze him. He just walked up, went to the car, opened it up, went inside.”
Schaber said the burglar was able to break into his vehicles because he accidentally left his doors unlocked. “It’s my bad for not locking my door, but I shouldn’t have to worry about people checking locks on my property,” he said. “For someone literally to risk their life to jump someone’s fence for a pair of sunglasses that they got out of my car, it’s not worth it.”
The homeowner said one of his close neighbors was also targeted. “This guy over here, inside the confines of his yard, fenced in, he had his bike stolen,” he said.
Schaber even has a sign on his fence to ward off burglars. It reads, “Warning: There is nothing inside worth your life,” with an image of revolver underneath.
Another neighbor shared highly pixelated surveillance video showing a man in a hoodie, also seen limping and walking with his hands behind his back, hanging around her front porch.
He is also seen getting into her unlocked car. However, he didn’t take anything.
One resident said he was able to scare away someone who looked suspicious. That man took off running.
Tuesday night, Sailboat Bend resident Tim Nichols described the neighborhood as safe. “It’s quiet. There’s a family going down [the street] right now. There are families living over here,” he said. “It’s a really nice place.”
When asked whether the break-ins make him angry, Nichols replied, “Yes, because I’ve had things stolen here. It’s just the way it is.”
The only thing that’s going to stop thieves, Schaber said, is a stronger police presence. “What’s funny is, we’re right behind the police station,” he said. “We shouldn’t even have this crime going through here. I wish the police would maybe do a bit more presence in the neighborhood, rather than just driving through and parking when they get off their shift.”
Neighbors advised area residents to lock their vehicles and remain vigilant of suspicious activity.
Police said they plan to increase patrolling in the neighborhood. They urged the public to come forward with information if they recognize the man in the surveillance footage.
If you have any information on these break-ins, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.
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