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Beach burglaries

06/06/2013 at 1:32pm

Burglaries on the BeachBeach burglaries on the rise

With rising temperatures outside, Fort Myers Beach is one of most popular destinations to help handle the summer heat. But an uptick in beachside burglaries has deputies asking for the public’s assistance in spotting suspicious activity.

In the last four months, 17 residential burglaries have been reported along the seven mile stretch of Fort Myers Beach, with the most recent activity occurring on the north end of the island. The thieves have been striking rental properties and time share condominiums, where they enter the buildings in the early evening hours once the victims leave to go out for dinner. Shortly after the victims depart, the suspects make entry through a door, using little, if any force. Once inside, the thieves steal cash and jewelry, however have not taken any electronic items to date.

Detectives with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office believe there may be two suspects working in unison, who have devised a strategic plan so that they don’t stand out. During one recent incident, it is believed one of the suspects stayed outside the front of the property talking on a cell phone, while another entered through a back door by prying the door handle. On two of the burglaries, witnesses described two suspicious persons seen in the immediate area. They were described as being white males, 40-45 years of age, between 5’7” and 6’0” and between 150 and 180 pounds.

"Although being on the Gulf is a relaxing time, we strongly encourage beachgoers to keep the guard up, be aware of their surroundings and to report any suspicious activity they may see,” said Trish Routte, Crime Stoppers Coordinator. "We want beach visitors to enjoy themselves, but have their belongings protected at the same time. Some simple steps, such as locking doors and not leaving valuables in plain sight can help avert criminal actions. And, of course, it’s always better to report suspicious persons or activity, and it turn out to be nothing, than to not make the call and have someone victimized.”

Anyone with information on the beach thieves is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477). Information on the suspects, or suspicious activity, can also be made online at www.swflcrimestoppers.org or by texting a tip to CRIMES (274637) Keyword: REWARD.