DEBARY, Fla. (Fox 35 WOFL) - Volusia County Sheriff's detectives believe several vehicle break-ins at Gemini Springs Park in DeBary, Fla. may be part of a notorious nation-wide crime.
Four vehicles at the park were broke into during a six-day span beginning on March 18. Detectives have taken reports from 8 victims at the park since the beginning of the year. Most of the victims were women who came to the park to walk the trials. When they returned to their vehicles, usually 30-45 minutes later, a window was smashed and many items -- like purses, money, perfume, makeup, etc -- were stolen.
Detectives believe the main targets for the thieves are check books, id’s and bank cards.
Volusia County released multiple surveillance pictures Tuesday from different banks around the state showing the same suspect cashing the checks. Detective Michael Cox said the woman in the pictures changed her appearance with wigs and different glasses, he said, to look like other victims of the crime.
Cox said it all fits the description of a crime reported by police across the state and country – a crime known as the Felony Lane Gang crime.
According to Cox it’s a fast crime where the perpetrators use the stolen identities of one victim to cash the checks stolen from another victim.
“We have a stolen driver’s license from Tampa that is writing a check to one of our victims here in DeBerry, so it can be as widespread as that,” said Cox. “These people, they’re all over the place.”
Cox said the sheriff’s office regularly patrols parks like Gemini Springs , but the crime happens fast.
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office urges people, especially women to not leave valuables or purses in their vehicles even for short periods of time and with locked doors.
If anyone has information about the burglaries, please contact the Sheriff's Office (1-386-257-6010) or Crime Stoppers of Northeast Florida (1-888-277-TIPS). Information can also be submitted by downloading the smartphone app from the Crime Stoppers website (www.westopcrime.com).