By Margie Plunkett
A rash of burglaries from parked autos this month sent Briny Breezes residents a clear message: Lock your cars.
Boynton Beach police arrested a suspect, the 21-year-old son of a Briny Breezes resident, on Jan. 27 after GPS units, cash and other valuables were swiped from several cars in the area, none of them locked. At least two unlocked homes also were burglarized of computer equipment, camera and cash in the same timeframe, although it was unclear if the cases were related.
After the crime spree — rare in Briny Breezes — Town Council played to a full house at the monthly meeting Jan. 28, as 40 concerned residents filled the seats and learned an arrest had been made. Questions arose addressing what is the best time for Boynton’s regular police shift in Briny Breezes, and how the arrest stacked up to others in the past.
“This has been the first crime spree in the area. This is not an everyday event,” said Sgt. Frank Danysh, the Police Department liaison for Briny Breezes. Police don’t know if others were involved with the burglaries, he said.
Boynton Beach police made the arrest after Ocean Ridge police detectives provided a possible suspect, according to Boynton Beach Public Information Officer Stephanie Slater.
“It goes without saying that we are always appreciative of any organization or individual that provides us with information that leads to an arrest,” Slater said.
Both police departments have put in proposals for providing police services to Briny Breezes when the current contract with the Boynton Beach Police Department expires this year.
Boynton police confirmed the lead with records from a pawn database that showed the suspect pawned three GPS units at the Fassst Cash Pawn shop in Boynton Beach, which Briny Breezes residents later identified as units stolen from their cars. After the arrest, police discovered 10 more GPS units in the suspect’s home. While the incident started with the three burglaries, more later emerged as word of the crimes started to spread and more residents checked the contents of their cars. The suspect is thought to have committed more than a dozen car burglaries and was charged with 12 felony counts of burglary, grand theft, dealing in stolen property and false verification of ownership of property to a pawnbroker. More charges were pending, the Police Department said.
Officers took the opportunity to urge residents to “try a little TLC:” Take out valuables. Lock their cars. Close the windows.