Police look for car robbery suspect - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Police look for car robbery suspect

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL (WFLX)  In the past two weeks, six vehicles broken into in the same parking lot in Port St. Lucie, and police say the crooks are using the same m-o, and targeting certain kinds of vehicles.

22 years as a locksmith, and Ray Smythe has seen it all.

Recently, he's seen an increase in service calls for car burglaries.

"I carry these Ford locks," he says as he rattles through a drawer.  Those replacement locks have unfortunately been popular lately. He's on his way to fix three Fords in Fort Pierce.

"Once the lock is punched and destroyed, I have to put a new cylinder in," says Smythe.

Smythe says sometimes a vehicle handle is destroyed as well, and a 100-dollar repair bill goes much higher.

For a half dozen drivers coming to a shopping center in Port St. Lucie's Tradition neighborhood, the end result was the same, a busted car lock. In four of the incidents, the vehicle was a Ford F-150. 

Smythe says it's not just the Ford that's vulnerable, but he admits he had to repair the lock on his niece's Ford pickup just last month.

What police have noticed is that instead of the traditional smash and grab, the key door locks are being punched with some type of small slender object.

"We can't stress enough the importance of removing your belongings not leaving them in your vehicle in plain view," said Tom Nichols with Port St. Lucie Police.

Even drivers in other pick-up trucks weren't surprised to hear the news.

"If it's not this vehicle, it's going to be somebody else's.  Everybody is doing anything to make a dollar these days," said Christy Goff off Fort Pierce.

Police have at least two potential suspects who were caught on surveillance. These men used a stolen credit card at the Gatlin Boulevard Wal-Mart that was taken from one of the vehicles. The suspect vehicle is a tan or beige SUV with dark tinted windows, possibly a Saturn Vue.

If you have any information in the case, call Port St. Lucie police at 772-879-3318.

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