MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. - The Martin County Sheriff's Office is urging residents to be on guard following a string of 'high-end' burglaries across the county.
Sheriff William Snyder says thieves hit three homes in 48 hours, seeming to look to steal specific items.
In each burglary, detectives say thieves stole valuable jewelry, cash, and in one home, a gun.
The targeted homes were on Jupiter Island in Hobe Sound, Loxahatchee River Dr. in Tequesta, and in the Four Rivers neighborhood in Palm City.
"I think it would be very reasonable to expect that they will be back," Snyder said.
Snyder believes the three cases are related. He does not think the thieves are from Martin County, but likely coming into the county to commit crimes.
One of the victims asked WPTV not to publish his name. The 90- year- old man lives on Jupiter Island. He says he left his home for just 30 minutes, to return and find someone had been inside. "I knew I'd been robbed," the man said.
He pointed out where thieves got into his home through a window. "They didn't break the glass. The took the glass out of [the window]," the man said.
He lost sentimental jewelry. "It was some of my father's jewelry and my mother's."
Sheriff Snyder met with neighborhood leaders Thursday night at the sheriff's office and talked about the burglaries.
"We do think we've got another little ring going of traveling burglars, for lack of a better word," Snyder said to a couple dozen residents.
He says this could be the beginning of another crime trend, different from the pillowcase burglars that targeted the Treasure Coast.
Those burglars would steal pillowcases from homes to fill with stolen items.
"This is a different crew," Snyder told residents.
Snyder credits the community's vigilance for slowing down pillowcase burglaries.
He says the community needs to keep that same level of caution to deter these new thieves.
"We don't want to wait and see if they continue. We want to get out in front of it," Snyder said.
All deputies have been instructed to be watchful for activity specific to these crimes.
Residents are being reminded to do the following:
Keep doors and windows locked.
Activate security alarms.
Secure jewelry in a locked safe bolted to a wall or floor.
Be good neighbors, report anything suspicious you see along your street.