MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. - Residents of several Martin County gated communities are realizing that a gate itself is not enough to keep suspected 'pillowcase burglars' at bay.
Traveling or 'pillowcase' crimes are not new in Martin County, but authorities said that it is certainly an evolving problem.
Thieves, more bold than ever, have been going beyond the gates that some residents hoped would protect them, according to the Martin County Sheriff's Office.
Sheriff William Snyder was personally warning those in gated communities about the problem. He said suspected 'pillowcase burglars' have a new - and bold - plan to target homes inside gated communities.
"The gated communities have been a good defense up until now," said Sheriff Snyder, who believes the culprits are coming from the south. "Probably from Broward County so at a distance it makes it hard to keep track of them," he said.
Investigators said they have been making progress with these 'traveling' or 'pillowcase' style crimes, with approximately seventy arrests in the last two years.
"Someone who's obviously desperate," said Hedy Bressler, who lives in The Arbors community in Hobe Sound. "They find it's an easy way to get money."
Authorities are warning that even with the gate closed tight residents should never let their guard down.
"They hit quick. They run quick," said Tom Tully, President of The Arbors HOA. "And hopefully they don't do it in your neighborhood."
The sheriff urges residents to look out for one another and call 911 if they see anything or anyone suspicious. That, Snyder said, should be the first line of defense; not the gate at the front of the community.
All of these developments have been targeted recently, according to the Martin County Sheriff's Office:
- Hammock Creek
- Heritage Plantation
- Harbour Point
- Hobe Sound
- Village Circle
- Croft Street
- Gettysburg Court
- Dharlys Street