WESLEY CHAPEL — The Pasco Sheriff's Office is investigating a string of auto burglaries in the Oak Creek and Meadow Pointe subdivisions.
At least nine vehicles were broken into Monday and Tuesday. Three were stolen, including one that was recovered several miles away on County Road 54 in Zephyrhills.
Deputies are warning residents to lock their car doors and keep valuables out of sight.
Someone broke into an unlocked 2008 Lexus ES 350 parked in the driveway of a Runner Oak Drive home Monday night or Tuesday morning. A garage door opener inside the car was used to enter the home. After grabbing a set of car keys from the kitchen counter, the burglars stole a 2001 Ford Mustang and 2008 Ford Fusion from the garage.
"If you have a garage door opener, you might want to bring those into your home like you would a set of keys," said Doug Tobin, a Sheriff's Office spokesman.
The Mustang was later recovered. A bathing suit, XM radio and towel were missing from the car.
Money, a driver's license and credit cards were stolen from cars parked at nearby homes.
A $383 purchase was made at an online camera store with one victim's credit card.
"That's something that we'll be looking at," Tobin said.
A few blocks away, on Cliffcreek Court, at least three vehicles were rifled. A pair of Nike Air Force 1 sneakers were stolen out of an unlocked 2001 Dodge Grand Caravan.
In Meadow Pointe, burglars stole a $500 Chanel purse and a laptop of similar value from inside an unlocked home on Lettingwell Circle Monday morning. A 2002 Kia Rio parked in the driveway was also stolen.
Deputies ask anyone with information on the crimes to call the department's toll-free tips line at 1-800-706-2488.
Helen Anne Travis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 435-7312.