Martin County pillowcase burglaries: Sheriff holding town hall meetings to fight burglaries

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. -- Martin County Sheriff's deputies will hold the first of several town hall meetings today to talk about the latest crime spree in the area, dubbed "pillowcase burglaries."

Tonight's meeting will be at Indian River State College inside the Robert Morgade Library starting at 6 p.m.

Sheriff William Snyder hopes to educate the public about these burglaries and give people tips on how to protect themselves. 

Since 2011, more than 90 burglaries have been investigated, 16 so far this year. Sheriff Snyder said 32 people, all from Broward County, have been arrested in connection with the cases. 

Snyder said the thieves rent lavish cars and then alter the appearance, like tenting the windows. 

Afterwards, they'll drive up to Martin County and scope out a neighborhood where they can easily knock off several homes at one time, Snyder said.

Once inside, the thieves ransack the homes and grab pillowcases to put valuables in -- such as jewelry, cash, coins, guns and more. 

Sheriff Snyder said getting the community involved will make a difference.

"The most important thing for us is that we have the community on our side and if they call us at the first sign that there's somebody suspicious in their neighborhood," Snyder said.

The sheriff's office will host three more meetings this month. 
 
April 11 at Peter and Julie Cummings Library.
April 16 at Hoke Library.
April 30 at the Pine School.
 
Tips from the sheriff's office:
 
Call 911 if you see anything suspicious. 
 
Leave your valuables in a safe deposit box at a bank or bolt your home safe to the floor. 
 
Turn your alarm on when you're not home and consider installing hurricane resistant windows and doors -- which are harder for thieves to break. 
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