Crafty crooks target Best Buy Mobile stores
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- Officials are currently investigating two burglaries at local cell phone stores with similarities that are leading police to believe they might be linked.
Detectives said the alleged crooks used inventive measures to get inside the two South Florida businesses and then swiped an estimated $120,000 worth in cell phones, tablets and other electronics.
"We have three total suspects on surveillance," said Fort Lauderdale Police Detective Deanna Greenlaw. "There could be more, but we know there's at least three involved in the incidents."
Security cameras captured the perpetrators breaking into the Best Buy Mobile store located at 1489 SE 17th St. on July 3. Wearing black hoodies, baggy clothes and white latex gloves, the burglars squeezed their way inside by smashing a hole in the wall of a vacant, neighboring business. The footage shows two of the men frantically grabbing iPhones and tablets. One of the perpetrators then breaks a locked gate, while a second subject grabs a box filled to the top with merchandise. Barely in the frame of the footage, the third suspect reaches out from the other side of the hole as he struggles to keep up with the electronics the other two are handing him. The alleged burglars managed to get away with more than $90,000 worth of electronic devices.
"Why go through a wall? They're going to get caught anyway," said concerned customer Jody Thompson. "Cameras are everywhere; it doesn't matter. I mean, the store is still going to find them, still going to see them."
Detectives believe this burglary might be connected to another Best Buy Mobile store burglary in Fort Lauderdale that occurred April 22 at 2350 N. Federal Highway. In this burglary, the suspects gained entry by drilling a hole on the roof. Once inside, they opened cases containing electronic devices and removed about $30,000 worth of electronics.
"It doesn't matter whether they go though the wall, whether they go through the ceiling, the A/C, the windows," said Thompson. "All they're going to do is turn around and try to resell [the merchandise], and they're going to get caught when they resell it, or they're going to pawn it, and they're going to get caught."
Fort Lauderdale Police are teaming up with law enforcers near Tampa Bay to investigate similar incidents in the City of Largo. "The motive for both the incidents that occurred in the City of Largo and the ones that occurred in our city appear to be the same," said Greenlaw. "They're grabbing as much merchandise as they possibly can."
Customer Johnny Austin noted that if the suspects are facing financial difficulties, it does not excuse their actions. "I guess, if you need money, I guess it's kind of hard out there but, you know, it's wrong," he said.
If you have any information on these burglaries, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.
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