By Tamas Mondovics
FishHawk’s Heron Glen community was the latest victim of what is now a household phrase: car hopping. Hillsborough County detectives are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the three subjects that can be seen in a surveillance video. (See video here)
According to Hillsborough County detectives, during the pre-dawn hours on July 20, 2015, within the Heron Glen and surrounding neighborhoods of Fishhawk, three white males engaged in “car hopping,” that is, systematically pulling door handles to identify unlocked vehicles.
Bloomingdale Community Resource Deputy, Curtis Warren, confirmed that at least six vehicles were unlawfully entered, and one vehicle, which had spare car keys in the glove box, was stolen. The stolen vehicle, a white 1999 Lexus RX300, was recovered as it sat abandoned, miles away in Tropical Acres at 12520 Lovers Lane in Riverview. The three suspects believed to be involved in the crime spree were captured on surveillance video entering the gated community of Heron Park Villas, a short time before the stolen Lexus was driven away.
Confirming the need to lock the car doors, Warren said, “The bottom line is that if you don’t want your stuff stolen, lock your car up.”
“This just keeps happening,” he said. “The burglars use this car hopping system as they go through an area because it works. They simply check vehicles by pulling door handles until they find one that is open.”
Anyone with any information in reference to these suspects is asked to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office at 247-8200. Anyone with any information regarding the identity and whereabouts of these suspects and who wants to be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477). Report anonymously online at www.crimestopperstb.com or text “CSTB plus your tip” to C-R-I-M-E-S (274637).