Brooksville police have been stymied by a recent rise in vehicle break-ins in an area just north of downtown.
Since Dec. 1, 53 vehicles have been burglarized in the vicinity of Hernando High School, figures show. Officials said 85 percent of the thefts have involved unlocked vehicles, presenting what they call "an easy crime of opportunity."
Among the items being targeted are portable stereos, cellphones, computers, radar detectors, purses and other small items that are easily carried off. In addition, at least two guns have been reported stolen.
Police chief George Turner said that the most frustrating aspect of the thefts is that the majority of them are preventable.
"A lot of people tend to forget that an unlocked vehicle is a tempting target for thieves," Turner said. "If you cut off easy access, they will pretty much move on."
Turner said that although the cases haven't been solved, detectives are pursuing several leads and forensic evidence. But such crimes, he said, are typically difficult to solve because of the lack of witnesses and evidence.
Authorities are reminding residents to lock their vehicles's doors and windows and to keep all valuables out of sight. In addition, it is suggested that owners of valuable items maintain identification records - make, model, serial numbers, original cost - and, if possible, make a photographic record as well.
Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or email@example.com.