Four in jail following rash of car thefts, break-ins in Oakleaf area

CCSO: Guns, property easily taken from unlocked cars

Don Coble
Posted 5/15/19

OAKLEAF – A series of car break-ins during a six-month period not only involved at least 13 cars, it included the theft of two other cars and at least five handguns.

And most, if not all, of the …

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Four in jail following rash of car thefts, break-ins in Oakleaf area

CCSO: Guns, property easily taken from unlocked cars

Posted

OAKLEAF – A series of car break-ins during a six-month period not only involved at least 13 cars, it included the theft of two other cars and at least five handguns.

And most, if not all, of the thefts could have been prevented.

“The simplest thing could solve almost every car break-in: lock your doors,” said Clay County Sheriff Deputy Chris Padgett.

Most of the break-ins, including ones that occurred in the Cheswick Oaks Avenue, Spencer Plantation and Bottomridge and Foxridge drive areas from November to April involved unlocked cars, Padgett said. Four men currently are in the Clay County Jail charged in connection with the burglaries, and new charges are being added as the investigation continues.

And most of the break-ins in the area weren’t reported.

“Nine out of 10 [break-ins] are unlocked cars,” Padgett said. “Rarely do we see a forced entry. They check the door handle and move on to the next vehicle,” Padgett said. “And if 12 cars get broken into, we probably only hear from three or four [victims].

Thieves often are looking for spare change or small items that easily can be sold. That’s why car owners don’t make reports. But Padgett said it’s important to report every break-in since it could lead to the evidence that could identify a suspect.

“Report it to us, regardless whether you lost something valuable or not,” he said. “What’s not valuable to you may be valuable to us. Maybe we get a thumbprint. That’s very valuable to us. That one piece of evidence can lead us to solving dozens of cases.”

A pair of teenagers were charged with breaking into cars from Feb. 27 to April 9 in at least three Clay County neighborhoods. Kyle Garrett Prevatt, 19, and Justin Marshall Hill, 19, were charged in a connection with at five reported break-ins. Not only were they caught in a stolen car, deputies confiscated personal property, three handguns, money and clothes. Two of the guns were taken from separate cars in the Oakleaf area and another handgun was stolen near Henley Road in Middleburg.

Hill currently is being held on $1,070,021 bond, while Prevatt’s bond was set at $830,021.

Another ring involved Jackie Rashad Nash, 21, and Tyrell DeAndre Campbell, 18, CCSO said.

They ransacked cars in the Oakleaf in November, stealing a car and at least two handguns.

Nash was being held on $130,021 bond after arrested in Jacksonville and sent back to Clay County to face charges of eight counts of burglary, including the theft of at least two handguns and a Toyota Rav4 from a garage near Hollybrook Lane.

Tyrell DeAndre Campbell, 18, was in jail with no bond. He was arrested on Jan. 14 and charged with 16 counts of breaking into cars, stealing a gun and the Toyota.

According to Padgett, thieves often find more than a couple dollars in change, a cell phone or headsets. He warned of victims leaving their garage door openers in unlocked parked cars since the opener will provide an easy access to a home and personal information in the glovebox will reveal the address.

“We had a case where someone was breaking into cars just to get their personal information,” Padgett said.

A favorite target for car thieves is gymnasiums, Padgett said. Women generally don’t carry their purses into a workout, and men often leave their wallets behind. Those are easy targets for a break-in since the thief will have instant access to cash, credit cards, driver’s license and social security cards – all which can be easily sold.

Besides locking a car door, another deterrent is removing valuables. Thieves rarely like to smash a window since it draws attention. But if a camera, wallet, handgun or computer can be easily seen, the reward often outweighs the risk.

“Forced entry usually happens when there’s a blatant, obvious thing of value,” Padgett said. “Don’t leave those in your car. And unless you’re parking your car in the garage, don’t leave your garage door opener in the car. Take it with you.”

But most of all, lock the car, Padgett said.

“We say ‘check it, chirp it.’ Make sure your car is locked,” he said. “Hit that little button. It’s the simplest way to prevent a break-in.”

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