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Lake Cove residents ask for increased law enforcement presence after recent break-ins

'It's been normally car break-ins, but now they're taking it a step further,' concerned resident says
Posted at 7:20 PM, Jan 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-04 19:21:05-05

LAKE WORTH BEACH, Fla. — A Lake Worth Beach community is shaken after a neighbor's doorbell camera caught two people in masks appearing to break down the back door of a home.

"I saw that and my first instinct was, 'I'm scared for my wife,'" said Kelvin Cruz, who lives down the street from the home where it happened in the Lake Cove neighborhood. "Like, oh my God, this could happen to anyone of us. What are we going to do?"

The homeowner did not want to go on camera but shared photos of his backdoor after the incident took place, showing the glass completely shattered.

picture of shattered glass at Lake Cove community
This picture shows the shattered glass at a Lake Cove home that was recently targeted.

"I've got to protect my wife," said Cruz, watching the video. "I've got to protect my family, if this happens to me. I can't even watch this anymore."

WPTV talked to at least 10 residents in Lake Cove about the video, and all of them said this is not the first time they've had an incident like this.

"I would say [there are] eight to 10 videos of two people trying to break into someone's home," said Calvin Sloan, who lives just down the street from Cruz. "It's been normally car break-ins, but now they're taking it a step further."

"We've seen an increase in potential break-ins," added Cruz. "We've seen an increase in them getting on people's properties."

Neighbors in the area shared with WPTV more doorbell camera video appearing to show exactly what Cruz and Sloan described. In the videos, two people can be seen walking around at night, peering into cars and pulling on the handles.

"It's every night," said Cruz. "They come out between midnight, 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. They check the car handles, see if we accidentally left them open."

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said there were no calls for service in the neighborhood from 2019-20. The following year, from 2020-21, that number jumped to 26 calls. In 2021-22, that number more than doubled to 55 calls. After that, however, calls dropped back down to 28 from 2022-23.

Still, neighbors said they are concerned, especially as those prowling the neighborhood appear to be getting more brazen.

Kelvin Cruz, Lake Cove resident, concerned about recent break-ins
Kelvin Cruz says he's concerned for his family after recent break-ins and attempted break-ins throughout the Lake Cove community.

"I'm definitely concerned," said Sloan. "They're looking in the camera, as if they don't care they're on video."

Residents said it's been a concern for a while now, but they said this latest attempt is their breaking point.

"I definitely feel violated," said Sloan. "Enough is enough. That's how I feel. We need some more police protection."

"I feel unsafe," added Cruz. "Please help us, you know. We want to stay here. We don't want to move. We want to stay here, but we can't. All because of that."

All the residents who spoke to WPTV said they'd like to see increased patrols in the Lake Cove community or see action from the city.