Unlocked cars led to 12 break-ins, 4 stolen guns

As the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office (ASO) continues its investigation of 12 car burglaries in Newberry last week, Newberry Mayor Jordan Marlowe is asking residents to lock up and take responsibility for securing their homes and vehicles.

Last night, the city sent out a reminder to citizens to “Be part of the #9pmroutine: Lock your doors, secure all valuables, every night 9:00 p.m.,” and to report suspicious activity.

According to ASO spokesperson Sgt. Frank Kinsey, a total of 12 cars were burglarized on Feb. 21st.

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“One was a stolen vehicle,” Kinsey reported. “It has since been recovered and returned to the owner.”

Details of the other cases are still not public record.

“That case and the other cases are still open and under investigation,” Kinsey said about the crimes that happened in the Country Way neighborhood just blocks from Oak View Middle and Newberry Elementary schools.

Kinsey said all of the vehicles were unlocked and four firearms were stolen throughout the 12 cars.

In a post on his official Facebook page, Marlowe reminded residents that they need to be more responsible for keeping vehicles secure.

“I want to thank ASO for all that they are doing to secure the situation we find ourselves in,” he posted. “They have stayed in constant communication with the City, and I am very appreciative of that.”

Marlowe acknowledged the “wave of car break-ins,” but also noted they are primarily unlocked vehicles. “So, please, lock your cars tonight, and if you keep a firearm in your vehicle, double please, lock your car.”

Marlowe added that he thinks the ASO will have a suspect in custody soon, “But nothing takes the place of personal responsibility. Be safe, Newberry!”

The break-ins come as Newberry is considering launching its own police department. The city estimates the cost at $1.5 million, but it would include a police force of 10 officers, 10 times the one ASO officer who is currently allocated to patrol Newberry streets. 

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