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Date of Issue: December 09, 2009

Burglars target canal vacation homes

A string of burglaries in Holmes Beach the past month has Holmes Beach Police Department officers on alert, and neighbors looking out for each other’s homes.

In the past month, according to HBPD police reports, there have been five residential burglaries between 70th and 77th streets.

HBPD Lt. Dale Stephenson said the houses were unoccupied. Some homeowners were on vacation.

“We feel these are all related,” Stephenson said. “Since the burglaries have come out of canal [homes], they’re possibly coming by water, which is why we’ve stepped up marine enforcement to identify who’s in the water and canals.”

In a Nov. 17 home burglary in the 500 block of 74th Street, an officer reported seeing a boat with its lights off in the general area. The occupants turned off their flashlights upon sight of HBPD patrol vehicles, the officer stated.

Becky Kinkaid is a homeowner in the targeted neighborhood. She said a burglar stole from her home a door mat, bath rug, mirror, three wooden bowls, a box of plastic bags and two pillow cases.

Kinkaid said she was speaking to a neighbor about the burglary, and he said some men approached in his canal after dark and asked, “You guys seen any snook?”

She said her neighbor told her that when police arrived, the boater sped away.

“It’s kind of creepy,” Kinkaid said. “My next-door neighbor said (burglars) took frozen fish from their freezer.”

In the burglaries, Stephenson said, burglars are taking some unusual items, such as plastic blinds, batteries, screwdrivers, shower heads and curtains, lighters and towels.

He said he spoke to residents in the area between 70th and 77th streets, suggesting they exchange phone numbers and watch out for each other.

“On the 500 block of 77th Street, they didn’t even know half of each other,” Stephenson said. “Some had alarms that weren’t even turned on.”

Stephenson is reminding residents that they can get officers to check their houses once a week. Those interested can visit the HBPD, 5801 Marina Drive, and fill out a request form.

In addition, Stephenson said residents can put motion detector lights in their backyards and on their docks, and items of value should not be left in plain view.

“I also told people about setting up a radio where it comes on for two hours every night,” Stephenson said.

To contact HBPD, call 941-708-5804.