Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Thieves burglarize cars in Tarpon Springs' Oakleaf Village

TARPON SPRINGS — Andrea Derrick's husband was taking the family dog on an early-morning walk Friday when he noticed the damage.

Two windows on the couple's 2009 Hyundai Sante Fe had been smashed in at their home on Red Oak Drive. Derrick's purse, which she just happened to leave in the SUV the night before, was gone. So was her work bag, containing a stethoscope and other items the emergency room nurse needs to do her job.

The couple was the first to report a vehicle burglary in the Oakleaf Village subdivision Friday morning. They wouldn't be the last.

As officers canvassed the area, they found other burglarized vehicles. More were reported later Friday morning as owners went out to their vehicles and discovered the thefts.

In all, at least 24 vehicles were broken into overnight. Most, like the Derricks', had windows broken. Others were left unlocked, Tarpon Springs police said.

The thefts happened on Red Oak Drive, Whispering Oak Drive, Burning Tree Road, Vermont Avenue, Silver Oak Drive, Rolling Wood Court, White Oak Court and Timber Lane.

Victims in the Tarpon Springs thefts lost various items, such as GPS devices, stereo equipment and bags, police said.

"Some items were found strewn about outside of vehicles that were returned to their owners," said Tarpon Springs police spokesman Capt. Jeff Young.

Strangely, despite the number of broken windows, "Nobody heard any noises out there or anything," Young said.

Derrick said she got lucky. The thief or thieves overlooked her GPS and her iPod, tucked inside her center console.

Despite a broken window that cost him $210 to be replaced, 47-year-old Joe Doria said luck was on his side, too. His wife's brand-new $400 leather jacket and her college textbooks were taken out of the couple's Dodge Grand Caravan, but were left behind.

"They left it all behind the bushes," he said. "I guess it didn't please their palate."

Doria said Oakleaf Village, which is shaded by huge oak trees and where the average home size is 1,800 square feet, is a "great neighborhood."

"We love living here. Everybody who lives here loves it," he said.

Still, this is the second rash of vehicle burglaries the neighborhood has seen in less than a year, he said. And he knows people in other neighborhoods who have gone through similar experiences in recent years.

"It's like a big epidemic," he said. "It just makes you wonder when they get tired of that and start coming into your home."

In January, Clearwater police arrested three teenagers accused of more than half a dozen vehicle burglaries on Clearwater Beach. Also that month, two teenagers were charged with criminal mischief in a vehicle vandalism spree in Seminole, Largo and Belleair Bluffs. There is no evidence to suggest those cases are related to the ones in Tarpon Springs.

Doria said he suspects that more than one person is responsible and that the thieves were bold. Doria lives across the street from a Tarpon Springs police officer who keeps a cruiser parked in his driveway overnight.

Police said they do not have any suspects and are asking for the public's help in identifying the person or people responsible.

Derrick said it was quite the scene Friday morning, as residents trickled out of their homes to survey the damage.

"Everybody's abuzz about it," she said.

>>how to help

Call in any tips

Police ask anyone with information about the crimes to call Tarpon Springs Police Department detectives at (727) 938-2840.

Thieves burglarize cars in Tarpon Springs' Oakleaf Village 02/11/11 [Last modified: Friday, February 11, 2011 7:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays exhausted but happy after 15-inning win over Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Before the Rays eventually won Sunday's 6½-hour, 15-inning marathon against the Twins 8-6, they did plenty to lose it. And we need to get that out of the way first.

    The Rays’ Evan Longoria enjoys a laugh after scoring, barely, to tie it in the ninth on Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out single.
  2. Tom Jones' Two Cents: ABC's Indy 500 coverage is stellar again

    TV and Radio

    Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Takuma Sato left, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 as Helio Castroneves is a little late passing him. ABC’s coverage of the race is stellar throughout, with plenty of extras but no fake drama.
  3. Takuma Sato surprise winner of wreck-filled Indy 500

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Takuma Sato, a journeyman driver, became the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when he held off three-time champion Helio Castroneves in a 230-mph wheel-rubbing duel to the finish.

    Scott Dixon’s car goes over the top of Jay Howard, soaring so high that Helio Castroneves drove under it while it was airborne. Stunningly, there were no serious injuries.
  4. South Korea military: North Korea fires unidentified projectile


    SEOUL — North Korea launched a ballistic missile early today that flew 280 miles and landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone, the South Korean military and the Japanese government said.

    S. Korean President Moon Jae-in is assessing the launch.
  5. Rays blow lead, rally, blow lead, rally again to beat Twins in 15 (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Rays sure made it interesting Sunday, taking an early lead, watching their beleaguered bullpen blow it, rallying to tie in the ninth, battling the Twins to take a lead in the 14th then giving it up again.

    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 28: Evan Longoria #3 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates scoring a run against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on May 28, 2017 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) 700010990