Rash of vehicle break-ins hits Gainesville

Yellow police tape blocking crime scene
Fer Gregory via Shutterstock

City and university police are working to solve a rash of overnight vehicle break-ins that local residents have reported around Gainesville and on the UF campus in recent days.

“We’ve had dozens of [burglaries] in the last week,” Gainesville Police Department (GPD) spokesman David Chudzik reported in an email to Mainstreet Daily News regarding the conveyance (car) burglaries.

On Thursday, Dec. 1, GPD officers responded to parking lots of apartment complexes along SW 13th Street, where 43 vehicles had smashed windows. Very little was taken from the vehicles other than sunglasses, loose change and one wallet.

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Chudzik said officers spent the night contacting victims and searching for video footage and leads.

On Saturday night and into Sunday morning, suspects entered eight vehicles in the 1000 block of SW 7th Avenue and six vehicles in a secluded parking lot in the 100 block of NW 3rd Avenue.

“Our evening shift officers conducted increased patrol later that evening and reported no additional reports of burglaries,” Chudzik wrote.

UF Police Department (UFPD) spokesperson Latrell Simmons said the UFPD sent out an alert on Friday to the UF community regarding the vehicle burglaries on campus.

“The most notable item stolen was a firearm,” Simmons said in an email reply. “The incidents are actively being investigated by our Criminal Investigations Division. We ask anyone with information that may be helpful in these investigations.”

The UFPD release stated:

“Over the past few days, the University of Florida Police Department and local law enforcement have seen an increase in motor vehicle thefts and vehicle burglaries in the Gainesville area. UFPD was made aware of five separate motor vehicle thefts that occurred sometime between Nov. 17 and Nov. 30, 2022, around the time of Thanksgiving Break. Four of the thefts were Vespa-like scooters, and one was an e-bike. The thefts occurred at parking areas near Southwest 13th Street and Little Hall, Garage 5, Garage 8, and Constans Theatre. One scooter has been recovered.

“Additionally, UFPD is actively investigating four vehicle burglary cases that occurred at the Frazier-Rogers parking lot located at 1741 Museum Road, Gainesville, Fla. 32611. The vehicles were burglarized between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. UFPD is also investigating a vehicle burglary that occurred near Sigma Alpha Epsilon, 2256 Museum Road Gainesville, Fla. 32611, in which a firearm was taken from the interior of the vehicle. Similar incidents have occurred near the UF campus within the jurisdiction of the Gainesville Police Department.”

GPD asks that anyone with information on the Gainesville burglaries contact investigators at 352-955-1818. For information on the UF break-ins, call the UFPD at 352-292-1111.

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