Alachua County Sheriff’s Office said they received a significant amount of calls this morning about vehicles burglarized overnight in the Haile Plantation area in Gainesville.
Each of the 17 reported cars had something in common: being unlocked, said Art Forgey, an Alachua County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.
Small items, including electronics and Christmas gifts that were searched through, were reported stolen, Forgey said.
This isn’t the first incident of car burglaries in the Haile area, he said, but the situation is unique because all the burglaries occurred in a concentrated area and with all the cars unlocked.
“We are preaching to people to lock your vehicle,” Forgey said. “However, not everybody’s listening. It is very hard for us to prevent a car burglary when people don’t listen to our advice [to] lock their vehicles.”
The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office has made 30-second public service announcements and written social-media posts telling residents to lock their cars, he said.
“This is one of the easiest crimes to prevent,” Forgey said. “It goes right up there along with putting on your seat belt when you get in the car. All you have to do is park in a well-lit area, not leave valuables inside and lock your vehicle.”