Unlocked vehicles in Okeechobee are burglarized

Okeechobee, Florida, welcome sign

Okeechobee, Florida, welcome sign

OKEECHOBEE — Thieves apparently hit paydirt Sunday, Aug. 2, when they found four unlocked cars in Basswood and made off with credit and debit cards, driver’s licenses and Social Security cards.

All of the break-ins apparently took place Sunday between 7 and 9 p.m., stated a report by Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) Deputy Daniel Eng.

According to the deputy’s report, the burglaries all took place along N.W. 37th Avenue.

In one break-in, a 33-year-old woman checked her vehicle “to see if anything was missing from it,” stated Deputy Eng. The only thing missing from her sports utility vehicle was her wallet.

The deputy’s report indicates the thieves took five credit cards from the woman’s purse along with a debit card, her driver’s license, her veteran’s identification card and $6 in cash. The woman’s loss was estimated to be $231.

She then started looking about her yard to see if the thieves possibly dropped anything. In the a corner of her yard she found a wallet that belongs to a man whose girlfriend’s vehicle was also burglarized.

When Deputy Eng spoke with that woman, he learned the only thing missing from her vehicle was her boyfriend’s wallet and his cell phone. His wallet contained his driver’s license and Social Security card.

In all, the deputy estimated the man’s loss to be $100.

Another woman in the area, however, did not get off so easily.

That 35-year-old woman detailed for the deputy how the only thing missing from her vehicle was her purse.

However, that purse held 12 credit cards, two debit cards, a wallet, her check book, her driver’s license, veteran identification card and a couple prescriptions.

In all, continued the report, her loss was estimated to be $525.

A fourth victim explained to Deputy Eng that he, too, had left his vehicle unlocked. After finding out about the other burglaries the 36-year-old man checked his vehicle and found that his wallet was missing.

Besides $20 in cash, his wallet contained three credit cards, a debit card and his Florida driver’s license. His loss was estimated to be $170.

When asked if these victims had suffered any other losses due to unauthorized use of their credit and debit cards, OCSO Detective Lieutenant Brad Stark said Tuesday afternoon he had not heard of any.

“Hopefully, they contacted their banks before their cards were used,” he said.

Lt. Stark went on to say these burglaries could have possibly been avoided if the victims had simply removed their valuables and locked their vehicles.

“We keep stressing this. I don’t know how many times we can stress it — lock your vehicles,” he offered.

Eric Kopp is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News

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