A rash of burglaries has struck Anna Maria in recent weeks, and they’re mostly occurring when one deputy is on duty and answering another call, said Sgt. Dave Turner, who heads the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office-Anna Maria substation.
“It’s all local people, younger people. We know who they are. They ride around on their bicycles or are on foot late at night and know where the night deputy is, then they find an unlocked car or house,” Turner said.
Only one MCSO deputy is scheduled for the late-night to early-morning shift, but Turner said he asked his supervisor for additional support for those hours.
While most of the burglaries reported in August were from unlocked vehicles, some occurred at unoccupied or vacant homes and one was at a garage where the door was left open overnight.
For August, Turner said he had eight reports of burglary to an unlocked motor vehicle and several reports of breaking and entering a residence.
In one vehicle burglary, a .25-caliber loaded handgun was stolen. In another burglary, an automatic shotgun was stolen from an unlocked truck. Turner said the shotgun was on a storage rack in full view of the outside, and the sliding glass door to enter the truck through the rear was unlocked.
North Shore Drive appears to be a popular location for auto burglaries, according to Turner’s report, while automobiles on Gladiolus Street, Lakeview Place and Oak Avenue also were burglarized. Unlocked houses on Oak Avenue also were targeted by the criminals, Turner added.
“Burglars are stealing guns, cash, jewelry, tools and drugs, and most crimes are crimes of opportunity, where a car or home is left unlocked,” he said. “We only had one burglary with forced entry.”
Turner said the best advice is “Keep your car locked and your home secure when you’re away.”
Investigations are ongoing and several juveniles are suspects.
Anyone with inform on any burglary is asked to call 911 or 941-708-8899. The information can be given anonymously, Turner added.