Bold Thief Siphons Gas From Cars
WEDGEFIELD, Fla. -- A Central Florida neighborhood was on alert Wednesday night for a bold car burglar who siphons gas from cars and steals belongings from inside.
A crime spree has been going on for weeks inside the Wedgefield subdivision just off State Road 50 in east Orange County.
The thief initially carries a bag that conceals a gas can, police said. He uses the can to steal gas from cars around the neighborhood. Then he fills the bag with items stolen from the cars.
Investigators are trying to use surveillance images to help capture the thief. It could also be more than one thief working as a group, police said. Investigators said that in similar cases, it is often neighborhood youths who know where to find easy targets.
Resident Bob O'Hara said surveillance cameras on his house on Regents Oak Lane in Wedgefield captured images of the thief. In one shot, the thief pulls on a door handle of trucks up and down the street in the subdivision called The Reserve in East Orange County.
In one surveillance video with a time stamp of about 3 a.m., a shadowy silhouette can be seen snooping near parked pickup trucks. It appears that he makes sure nobody is watching and then goes to work.
"It's stressful because we moved into this neighborhood feeling it was a safer environment for kids. Just to feel safe period, and I don't feel safe now," said Angie Bowen, whose car was broken into.
Bowen lost CDs and global positioning system in two thefts. She and other residents said they have lost belongings and their peace of mind.
"I worry constantly that someone is going to walk into that door any second, really scares me," she said.
It doesn't help ease residents' minds that the gated community hasn't had a working gate in two years. Deputies are warning everyone in the area about the thefts and warned them to lock their cars.