When residents along Northwest 169th Terrace in Miami Lakes awoke on a recent Monday morning, they were met with some bad news: thieves opened six unlocked cars and stole two handguns, electronics and other valuables, according to police.
Also taken: A fob from one unlocked car that operated a Jeep Cherokee, which was driven away by the burglars.
“The simple act of locking your car door helps curtail these vehicle burglaries,” Miami-Dade Police Maj. Javier Ruiz, commander of the agency’s district station in town, said during the week of the burglaries. “They just test the doors.
“It’s as simple as that,” Ruiz said.
Ruiz said he was especially concerned about the weapons stolen around 3:20 a.m. on Aug. 17 because “they can be sold or utilized. Luckily we have information from the victims in terms of [gun] serial numbers, and can enter them into our database that will alert any officers that run the serial numbers that it is stolen.”
Despite those recent car burglaries, such break-ins are down in Miami Lakes, Ruiz said.
From Jan. 1 – July 31 this year, there were 96 vehicle burglaries; 30% fewer than the 138 car break-ins in 2019, Ruiz said.
From Aug. 1 – 18 in 2019, there were 12 car burglaries and the same amount for that time period this August, he said.
The most recent theft involved two men in hoodies whose faces were covered, Ruiz said.
The suspects were likely aware that homeowners’ increased use of doorbell videos capture their images even if they are able to elude law enforcement.
As of Aug. 24, no one had been arrested, property had not been recovered and there were no developments in the investigation that is continuing, Ruiz said.
No one was injured.
Ruiz recommends homeowners make it a habit to secure their property.
“In my household we set the alarm on the iPhone at 10 o’clock, and before we go to bed, we press the locks on the key fobs and make sure all the doors and windows are locked,” Ruiz said.
“If it becomes a nightly routine, it significantly curtails this kind of operation,” Ruiz said. “And we don’t leave anything in the car that is of value that could be taken as well.”
Or, as the agency’s slogan says, “Lock it or Lose it.”
Sandra Perera, one of the homeowners targeted by the car burglars in the Royal Oaks neighborhood, said, “We have to try to make the town safer. The bottom line as a community is that we have to keep our eyes open.”