SEBRING — Highlands County Sheriff’s Office detectives are working to solve a rash of car burglaries around the county. Seven incidents were reported Monday, 14 were reported Tuesday, and three more were reported Wednesday.
Of the 24 car burglaries reported over the three-day period, only one of them was to a car that was locked.
A few cases have been reported in the Avon Park Lakes area, but the largest concentration of the victims are in west and southeast Sebring — the DeSoto City, Highlands Homes and Sebring Hills neighborhoods.
In some cases, multiple cars have been hit on the same street. While not much was taken in several cases, there were a few cars that had valuables removed.
“This is one of the easiest crimes to prevent,” Sheriff Paul Blackman said. “Just lock your doors. Crimes like these are why we are promoting the ‘9 p.m. Routine’ to remind everyone to double check their vehicles and homes are locked up each night.”
The Sheriff’s Office is posting reminders at 9 p.m. each night on Facebook and Twitter to help establish the 9 p.m. Routine, a program launched last year in Pasco County that has resulted in a 36 percent reduction in their number of vehicle burglaries. In Highlands County, detectives say that more than 75 percent of burglaries are the result of an open door or window, and almost all vehicles burglarized are unlocked.
Sheriff Blackman also encouraged residents to report all cases where they notice someone has been in their car, even if nothing was taken.
“Even if nothing is stolen, that is still a burglary and we want to be able to keep track of where they are occurring and be able to charge the people we catch with every crime they committed,” Blackman said.