DUNDEE — A small town off U.S. 27, perhaps best known for its historic downtown, its Old Dundee ACL Train Depot and its cattle ranches, appears to have attracted an unwelcome addition: a rash of car burglaries.
Many of the victim’s have been women attending a local Zumba class.
Polk County Sheriff’s deputies are now asking for the public’s help in identifying a woman believed to be involved in the vehicle burglaries in the Dundee area, whose image was captured on video surveillance cameras at local banks as she was cashing stolen checks taken from the cars.
An image from the camera was sent to the media, and anyone who recognizes the woman is being asked to call Polk County Detective Michael Britt at 863-255-6184.
According to the police report, the rash of burglaries started last month. The suspects involved have been stealing women’s purses from cars, then cashing stolen checks at banks in Polk and other neighboring counties.
Carrie Eleazor, the public information officer for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, noted that in May, several of the cars that got targeted for the thefts were parked at the Dundee Community Center. The vehicles got broken into while the women were inside taking a Zumba class.
“The windows were broken out, and their purses were stolen from within,” Eleazeor noted.
It was later reported to the sheriff’s office that two men were seen driving a black Dodge Charger or Chrysler 300, leaving the area shortly after the break-ins occurred.
Eearlier this month, several of the victims’ stolen checks got cashed at banks throughout the region, including in Polk County (in the neighboring town of Lake Hamilton, right next to Dundee), in Osceola County (Kissimmee) and in Orange County (Orlando).
“Detectives are actively working this trend with other law enforcement agencies,” Eleazor noted.
To help crack the case, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office sent out the image of the woman who cashed the checks at the bank drive through, taken from the bank video surveillance cameras.
Anyone with information on this case who wants to remain anonymous can call Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS or log on to www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com.
iPhone and Droid users can download a free tip submit app to anonymously report crime. To install these free apps, log on to www.tipsoft.com.
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