PONTE VEDRA, Fla. -- While friends and family were gathered at a wedding over the weekend, someone else was in the parking lot gathering up their belongings. Police said several cars were broken into in a Nocatee parking lot.
How did the thief or thieves get in? One of the victims told First Coast News that a revealing clue was out in the open for all to see on the door handle.
"Mostly angry," said Rick Wages of Jacksonville. I'm upset."
Wages and his wife, Pamela, were at a friend's wedding at Nocatee's Crosswater Hall late Saturday afternoon. Rick said he unlocked the truck with the remote.
According to Rick, his wife, Pamela, said "'Where's my purse?'" Rick asked. "My purse is gone.'"
Along with it, her driver's license, social security card, credit cards and more than $700 from her business. She said some of the money was going to her church as a tithe.
"And the worst part of it is now we've got to go through all this stuff trying to get her a social security card," Rick said. "Her driver's license back."
Their truck was broken into. The police were called.
"Some other people had came out from the party," Rick Wages said when he talked about what happened Saturday. "Bam! Next thing you know, 'Mine's hit too.'"
According to St. John's County Sheriff's Office spokesperson, Corporal Catherine Payne, five vehicles were listed as broken into as of Monday afternoon.
They were two GMCs, two Chevrolets and one Hyundai. Cpl. Payne said the locks on all of the listed vehicles were punched in.
"They had to have some sort of special tool to get the locks out without damaging the door," Wages said.
Wages said the doors were locked, no glass was broken, the anti theft-alarm was engaged but didn't sound and her purse was hidden.
"That's just my opinion," Wages said, describing how he thinks the break-ins were carried out. "Somebody was watching the parking lot for somebody."
Nocatee's Operations Manager tells FCN this has never happened before and they are working with the Sheriff's Office to figure out what can be done. The manager said an option could include installing security cameras in the parking lot where the incidents happened.
"What I'll do differently?" Wages asked. "I ain't never leaving nothing in a vehicle again," he said with a laugh.
First For You, Payne recommends:
1) Hiding your valuables OR
2) Taking them with you
FCN took a closer look at what you can do to protect yourself and your vehicle. We found a link with the City of Cotati in Sonoma County, California. The city lists several ways to protect your car from theft, including listing several auto theft security devices. Here are a few:
Guard Plate: This installs over the trunk lock with carriage bolts to protect the trunk cylinder.
Trunk Lock: This is an auxiliary or secondary locking device. A heavy-duty chain lock may be installed inside the trunk and is key-operated.
Hood lock: This is a secondary lock that can be installed to prevent access to the power source, battery or siren for an alarm.
First Coast News