Police: Car break-ins target women in busy parking lots

Police: 96 break-ins since May


WINTER PARK, Fla. – Winter Park police believe a crime ring known as 'Felony Lane' may be behind a string of car break-ins targeting women at busy parking lots.

The crimes often happen in a matter of seconds, and sometimes within a few hundred feet of the unknowing victim. Police across the state have warned of the latest crime trend.

Security video from Polk County last month shows exactly how they're doing it. In the video clips, a criminal pulls up next to a parked car, opens his or her car door to help hide their movements from passersby, smashes a window, takes valuables, and is gone in less than a minute.

"I wouldn't think twice if I looked over and saw a car doing that. I wouldn't be concerned that they were breaking into my vehicle," said Corrine Cole, as she sat in the stands watching her family play in Cady Way Park, unaware they're in one of Winter Park's latest crime hot spots. "They're opening the door but you can't really tell what's going on. They could be doing anything. You wouldn't think that they're breaking into the vehicle."

Winter Park police have tracked 14 car break-ins in the past week, and 96 since May. Victims have found their windows smashed near Cady Way Park, Winter Park Memorial Hospital, Lifestyle Fitness and the Wellness Center where a sign reminds people to take their valuables with them.

Women admit they fall often into a false sense of security, and leave their purses behind in their vehicles in places where they feel safe.

But the criminals are striking where women leave their cars unattended, just long enough to break-in. But in the security video, it's clear that it takes just 60 seconds for these criminals to smash and grab.