JUPITER, Fla. — It’s not everyday that an unlocked car leads to an uncontrolled house fire. But that is exactly what happened in The Bluffs neighborhood in Jupiter overnight on Monday.
“Mind blowing,” said Oleg Sulyma, a neighbor. “I have never seen anything like that except on the movies or on TV."
Sulyma saw the flames before firefighters arrived, and shared some of his cellphone video with Contact 5.
“This is supposed to be one of the quietest and secure neighborhoods in Jupiter,” Sulyma said, browsing through clips on his phone. “So, definitely I was surprised.”
Police said he was one of 14 people who had their unlocked car broken into in The Bluffs the same night of the fire.
Detectives believe Tyrease Lyons started the blaze after he was caught on surveillance video riling through cars.
Police said Lyons found a garage door opener in one of the unlocked vehicles and started a fire inside the garage. He was charged with burglary and arson.
“Unlocked vehicles, where the property is left in the vehicle, such as garage door openers, key fobs, can lead to additional crimes,” said Sgt. Eric Frank with the Jupiter Police Department.
That same day, less than four miles away, police were called to more break-ins at Jupiter’s beaches near Marker 58. But unlike the burglaries at The Bluffs, these break-ins happened during the day and the cars were locked.
“I was in shock,” Kim Casey told Contact 5 investigator Merris Badcock. Casey was one of two people who locked their car door, but left valuables inside that were later stolen through a smashed-in window.
“I first opened my car door, and I saw this green sheet of something, and I thought, ‘This is not my car.’ I looked down and saw my window was smashed out,” Casey said.
She posted photos of the crime on Facebook, and more than 100 people chimed in with comments. “I have a 15-year-old daughter. I want mothers and fathers to tell their children coming to the beach that they could possibly be the victim of a crime,” Casey explained.
Despite Jupiter Police Department’s social media campaigns to 'lock it or lose it,' Casey is not the only one who has made the mistake.
“If you know you are going for a walk on the beach, just bring your ID, maybe your credit card or wallet,” said Frank. “Something that you can stick in your pocket.”
And if you have to bring valuables with you?
“Stop at an area beforehand to put the property in your vehicle, somewhere obviously out of site. There are times that bad guys may be in the area already and they are watching you as you are getting out the vehicle and putting the property underneath the seat,” Frank added.