Police warn residents of vehicle purse thefts

Credit: EBRSO
Credit: EBRSO

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Police are investigating a rash of vehicle burglaries in Baton Rouge that have happened in the past couple of weeks.

Several cases have been reported that purses have been stolen out of parked vehicles. In each instance, the victim briefly went into a gym, daycare or store.

Police believe the suspects pulled up next to the unattended vehicle, broke the window and stole the purses in a matter of seconds.

On February 17th, someone targeted a Florida Blvd. daycare. Director Deleece Nichols says she's always warned parents to keep their valuables with them.

"It was very early as we were opening up, and several parents were gathered at the door. They noticed a car that wasn't one of our regular cars," Nichols said. "A few minutes later one of those parents noticed that car again, but it was too late. They had that quickly broken the window and grabbed a mom's purse."

Nichols said a second daycare was also hit the same day, but so far no arrests have been made in those cases.

Detectives say suspects often get away with large amounts of money from cashing the victim's personal checks. The thefts are not targeted to one particular area, but have taken place in various parts of the city.

The East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office is working with Baton Rouge Police to track similarities in the cases.

"We believe that criminals are targeting people that are maybe running in for a quick errand or running in to the gym, and they're more prone to leave their valuables in the car and criminals know that," said EBRSO spokesperson Casey Rayborn Hicks.

The office is set to implement a new program to remind the public of the danger.

"What we're doing is we're getting a checklist together so when our deputies go around and they see a vehicle - maybe they notice that your door is unlocked or your windows are open, or you have packages or valuables in plain sight - they're going to leave you a little note whether you passed or failed this random inspection," Hicks said.

Deputies are still looking for two women caught on camera trying to cash a stolen check taken from a vehicle parked at the YMCA off of Perkins Rd. on February 15th, Hicks said. The females were in a red Chevy Impala with dark tinted windows with a Florida license plate.

Baton Rouge Police would like to remind the public not to leave your purse or wallet inside of your unattended vehicle, even if only for a brief time. In the event a wallet or purse is stolen, please contact your bank/credit union immediately and cancel all accounts. Also, contact police as soon as possible in order to make a report on the stolen property.

Anyone with information is urged to contact BRPD at 225-389-2000, EBRSO at 225-389-5000 or Crime Stoppers at 225-344-STOP (7867).

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