Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Optical shops targeted by burglars looking for high-end sunglasses

ST. PETERSBURG — Police are investigating a rash of burglaries in which optical shops have been cleaned out of high-end sunglasses.

At least three St. Petersburg businesses have been hit this month. A thief also targeted a Sunglass Hut at Brandon's Westfield Shopping Center in August.

The thieves have gotten away with more than $30,000 worth of brand-name sunglasses, including Maui Jim, Coach, Ray Ban, Guess, Chesterfield, Converse, Lucky and Vera Wang.

"They seem like they know exactly what they're looking for," said Ron Lawson, an administrator at Updegraff Vision Center, 1601 38th Ave. N, which was burglarized Sept. 1. "They get the sunglasses, then they go. They're in and out in minutes."

A similar burglary occurred at St. Pete Optical, 3210 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street N, on Sept. 16. Early the next morning, thieves got away with $10,000 in merchandise at Joel Marartz Optical, 929 First Ave. N.

Police said they see a rash of these break-ins at least once a year and believe the recent burglaries may have been committed by the same people. In all three cases, the burglars either smashed or pried open a window or door. In a surveillance video from the Updegraff burglary, two masked men are seen quickly leaving after throwing the sunglasses — worth $20,000 — from a display into a garbage bin.

"The M.O., the time frame, the locations and the way they're happening suggest it could all be the same people," said St. Petersburg Police spokesman Mike Puetz.

Officials said the sunglasses likely are resold on the Internet.

Nancy McGettrick, owner of St. Pete Optical, said the burglary cost her more than just the $3,000 worth of merchandise she lost. She also had to pay $1,600 for a new door and frame and a $1,000 deductible.

"Little businesses like me are devastated," said McGettrick, who has had the shop for about four years. "All that damage for 17 pairs of sunglasses."

McGettrick said she hadn't even bothered stocking the non-prescription, high-end sunglasses until a few months ago. She said she won't carry the targeted brands anymore.

"It's not worth it," she said.

How to help capture burglars

Anyone with information is asked to call police at (727) 893-7780, the anonymous tip line at 892-5000 or text a tip to 420-8911.

On the Web: To see surveillance video from two of the sunglass heists, go to

video.tampabay.com.

Optical shops targeted by burglars looking for high-end sunglasses 09/24/10 [Last modified: Friday, September 24, 2010 10:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Yale dean on leave over offensive Yelp reviews leaves post

    Bizarre News

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A Yale University dean who was placed on leave over offensive reviews she posted on Yelp has left her position at the Ivy League institution, school officials said Tuesday.

  2. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  3. The people you meet along O.J. Howard Lane

    Bucs

    AUTAUGAVILLE, Ala. —The screen door hangs open to Laura's Country Kitchen but the dining room is empty with no one to feed.

    OJ Howard (far right) is seen in a photo from his adolescent years at Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church in Prattville, Ala., on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Howard served as an usher in addition to attending regular services at this church.
  4. St. Pete Pride schedule and live blog

    Special Topics

    St. Pete Pride Block Party and Night Parade: St. Pete Pride's popular parade moves to downtown St. Petersburg's scenic waterfront. The block party brings DJs, food and drinks starting at 2 p.m. The parade steps off at Fifth Ave NE and Bayshore at 7 p.m. with fireworks at 9:45 p.m. 2 p.m., North Straub Park, Fifth Avenue …

    A local business rings in Pride 2017 with some window decorations.