St. Johns County deputies warning resident after numerous smash-and-grabs at local park

String of smash-and-grab thefts at park in St. Johns County

Don't make it easy for a thief to get a hold of your valuables: That's what the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office is asking of neighbors following the latest series of smash-and-grabs at Alpine Groves Park.

Action News Jax reporter Courtney Cole spoke to the Sheriff's Office to learn what you can do to protect yourself.
On Monday, March 11, three different women had their purses stolen during separate visits to Alpine Groves Park in Switzerland.

According to the incident reports from the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office, one mother told police her purse was stolen with medical marijuana gummies prescribed for her child.

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Jessica Polster, a mother who visits the park regularly, says she wasn't shocked to learn about these incidents.

Oftentimes she says parents have so many other things to focus on, valuables get left behind.

"I know we shouldn't, but the reality is, by the time I unload all the kids and their stuff, it's not that uncommon to just leave my purse," said Polster.

The incident report explains how all of the women left their purses on their car seats, between 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Monday.

The Sheriff's Office wants to remind you not to leave valuables in plain sight. Instead, they urge you to to bring your important items with you, after you park your car.

That's why one neighbor told Action News Jax Courtney Cole, when she visits Alpine Groves Park she hides her belongings.

"I cover it up with a blanket, or I leave it in the trunk where no one can see it," said Sara Aton.

And if that doesn't work...

"My best protection is right here. If anybody came after me or my car my dog would be all over them. He's very protective," Aton said.

According to these reports, the suspects made away with: credit cards, debit cards, cash, gift cards and even Medicaid cards.

While investigators did collect prints from each of the cars--none of the victims were able to provide the sheriff's officers with much information about the suspects.

As the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office continues to work to find the suspects in these smash-and-grab incidents, anyone with information is urged to call them.


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