Police: Thieves follow bank customers in Broward, steal cash from cars

HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - Car burglars in Broward County have targeted nearly a dozen bank customers by breaking into their vehicles after they make their withdrawals, police said.

About 11 such thefts have happened over the last few weeks, and police said the thieves aren’t getting lucky — they’re following their victims. Hollywood Police detectives said the victim typically withdraws a large amount of money from the bank.

Thieves broke into Travis Washington’s car, March 8, minutes after he cashed his IRS refund check for $8,000 at a Wells Fargo.

Travis Washington

“Angry, upset,” Washington said. “My rent was due, $2,000 rent, and I owed my uncle $3,000, which he had given me to get the down payment on my home.”

Washington and his wife were in the middle of a move. “Me and my wife had decided to get it cashed at the bank on Washington Street and 441,” he added.

Washington left the Wells Fargo, stopped to eat and even passed by his house, before ending up at the Kwik Stop store on Sheridan Street to pick up some things. Just a few minutes later, a passer-by said someone’s car window had been broken into. That car was Washington’s.

“Most of the glass cracked and on the floor, held together, kind of, by the tint,” Washington said. “I was hoping I was dreaming. Just, this can’t be real.”

The $8,000 stashed in his glove compartment was gone, and police said he was not the only victim.

The burglars are likely following their victims from their bank, Hollywood Police Detective Joseph Gratz said.

Detective Joseph Gratz

“They might use spotters in some occasions,” he said. “They withdraw the money from the banks, and they follow them to wherever location. Usually, they run an errand.”

Surveillance cameras captured the burglars who stole Washington’s money leaving in a car, but police said the subjects have been seen in at least three other vehicles at other locations.

“Would you like this to happen to someone in your family?” Washington asked. “I’m sure they wouldn’t like that. You reap what you sow.”

Asked why he didn’t carry the cash with him into the store, Washington said that he thought, for those few minutes in the store, leaving the money in his car would be safer.

If you have any information on any of these burglaries, 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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