Detectives camp out for 20 hours to catch serial car burglar suspects
Operation stops series of smash and grabs in Altamonte Springs
ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. – When Altamonte Springs police discovered car windows shattered at Uptown Altamonte last month, crime analysts discovered a pattern.
All of the burglaries to cars parked at Cranes Roost Park, Yoga University and Youfit Health Club happened on the same days each week and during the same time of day, said Altamonte Springs Police Officer Evelyn Estevez.
"There was a common theme: there was a car broken into that we'd respond to, shortly after the victim is advising their cards are being used at Target, for a pretty significant amount of money," Estevez said. "They were all occurring between Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and all occurring between 3 p.m. and 11 p.m. So crime analysts shared that information with detectives."
Estevez said detectives went to the Target nearby in Altamonte Springs and obtained surveillance video of two women who used the stolen credit cards minutes after the smash and grabs.
"They [the suspects] know that once a victim discovers their purse has been taken, the first thing they're going to do is call their bank and cancel their cards," Estevez said. "So they have a very small window to use those cards before they're canceled."
Based on the time frame that crime analysts provided, detectives set up a surveillance operation at the Target.
"Eight hours a day for three days straight, just waiting for them to show up," Estevez said. "It's a tedious process, especially in a vehicle, surveillance is uncomfortable, sitting in a car all day, you don't have the luxury of being able to leave because that's when they could show up."
The women did show up on the 20th hour of the surveillance operation.
"Sure enough, as was the trend in other cases, they went over and selected Visa gift cards," Estevez said. "And just as they went in they separated, which is a telltale sign of some type of criminal activity."
Estevez said detectives arrested Janae Boyd and Takyria Smith, who both had stolen credit cards in their possession.
After their arrest, the burglaries stopped.
"We know that we're getting results because based on that investigation we haven't seen any other burglaries at any of those places these women were hitting," Estevez said.
Detectives have charged Boyd with seven car burglaries in Altamonte Springs and several more in surrounding cities. She's in jail held on more than $100,000 bond.
Smith bonded out and is awaiting trial.
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