Vehicles burglarized in Brickell apartment parking lot - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Vehicles burglarized in Brickell apartment parking lot

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West Brickell apartment complex. West Brickell apartment complex.
Miami Police Sgt. Freddie Cruz Miami Police Sgt. Freddie Cruz

MIAMI (WSVN) -- Residents of a Miami apartment complex are upset after, police said, thieves broke into about a dozen cars and stole the vehicles' airbags, Tuesday morning.

Police often advise people to avoid leaving valuables in their vehicles, but in this case, the perpetrators were looking for something that was actually attached to the cars.

Only Hondas and Nissans were targeted overnight at the West Brickell apartments on 10th Street and Southwest Second Avenue. Investigators said the subject or subjects broke into the parking garage through an opening.

Miami Police Sgt. Freddie Cruz said this was not your typical smash and grab. "This is something that is very uncommon to us," he said.

Investigators called these burglars professionals. "Whoever is responsible for this crime has to have some sort of knowledge," said Cruz. "This could be one person, it could be a group, it could be a gang."

Police said the sophisticated operation consisted of popping locks, disconnecting terminals to keep alarms from going off and going for the airbags. "Are they intending to use them for other vehicles, or are they attempting to sell them? We don't know at this moment," said Cruz.

According to investigators, the airbags could fetch several hundred dollars online and at auto repair shops.

"It was a more than difficult morning," said Nina Lerena through a translator. The victim said she was rushing to visit her mother at the hospital only to find her car was broken into.

Other victims went to work late, as they dealt with the police investigation. At least one resident said this could have have been prevented if the building management took better precautions.

Hours after the break-in, property managers took down signs alleging they had camera surveillance on the premises. According to residents, the gate that might have prevented the burglars from breaking into the garage has been broken for months. "The main door [is broken] and the gate also," said a resident.

Police said they have already spoken with management at the building about security measures. "This building, we have done security surveys with them in the past," said Cruz, "what they can do to do it better. I mean, the property owners and the property managers have to do their part as well and invest in cameras and security guards as well. It's in question if this building has taken our advice."

"I don't know if they're going to take responsibility. I don't think so," said the resident about the building's management.

Building management declined to comment, instead asking a 7News crew to leave the property.

If you have any information on these car burglaries, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.

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