Chesapeake police warning of smash and grabs in parks, fitness centers and daycares

Criminals in Chesapeake are now targeting dog parks, fitness centers and daycare centers. 

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — We’re on your side reminding you of thieves targeting your vehicle when you least expect it.

Earlier this month, 10 On Your Side filed a report about parents picking up their children at several Chesapeake daycare centers, only to find their valuables gone when they return to their vehicles.

Chesapeake police say criminals are now targeting victims at local parks.

Senior police officer Sarah Everett says thieves are thinking outside of the box.

“People know you don’t want to be loaded down with extra stuff so that’s kind of where they are going,” said Everett.

But thieves are also having their fun at their victims’ expense, checking for unlocked cars and even smashing and grabbing while the dogs play.

We caught up with Danielle Wegman, who was walking her dog Oscar in Chesapeake.

“I actually came here and left my purse in the car and thought hmm is this safe?” Wegman asked.

Police say it is not, because criminals are now targeting dog parks, fitness centers and daycare centers.

We told you about the six daycare centers targeted in the Greenbrier and Great Bridge area of the city this month.

Surveillance video obtained by 10 On Your Side from the Goddard School shows just how quickly someone can pull in, steal something in a flash, and pull out, leaving shattered glass.

Since we showed you this, officers say cars at more locations have been targeted.

According to police, there have been nine smash and grabs since late November and police don’t know if the same person is committing the crimes.

“If you have a purse, just put it in the trunk of your vehicle that way it is locked and out of sight and no one is going to be able to get to it. People think just tucking something under the seat while they run in is going to keep it safe, but that’s not necessarily true.”

Everette says thieves are quick, and they’ll search those places — especially if a strap is in plain sight.  She suggests putting your purse in the trunk before you even leave the house.

Some of you may be wondering, if I put my purse in the trunk, will I get in trouble if I get pulled over? The answer according to Officer Everette: no, you won’t.

An officer can run your information without your ID.

If you really need it, she says they will allow you to get it.