BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - John Roberts, a car window repair technician based in Palm Beach County, has heard his fair share of crime stories.
“She was parked at a fitness center, and she left her purse inside,” Roberts said, pointing to the white, mid-size SUV in Boynton Beach he was currently working on.
“It is everywhere, from grocery stores to convenience stores, 24-hour fitness centers; any place like that where you are going to be away from your car for an hour.”
With more than a decade of window repair experience, Roberts estimates he’s replaced hundreds of windows. Lately, Roberts said smash and grab crimes seem to be going up.
“This year alone we have probably seen a 20 to 30 percent increase due to break-ins,” said Roberts.
To keep up with the demand, his company, Glass Doctor, recently hired another car window repair technician.
“Normally we are doing one, maybe two of the tempered-quarter glasses or door glasses in a day. But lately it seems like we are doing three, four, sometimes even five a day,” said Roberts.
Roberts and Glass Doctor aren’t the only ones seeing a rise in demand. Contact 5 called a handful of car window repair companies in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Everyone we talked to said they had seen an increase in calls to repair broken windows from smash and grabs.
The idea to look into this started last week while covering the 27 cars that were broken into overnight in just one neighborhood.
“I called Safelite to come fix my window. They can’t come until tomorrow,” said Ralph Sasso, one of the victims in the 27 car rash of break-ins. “They mentioned the reason they are so busy is because there are hundreds that they are dealing with right now.”
We reached out to Safelite spokesperson, who told us this, in part: “We have seen an increase in the amount of work in West Palm due to vandalism, but it’s nothing we haven’t been able to handle, and there hasn’t been any delay in servicing customers.”
While Roberts does not mind the extra repair jobs, he wishes it wasn’t from so many break-ins. "They’ll go in, they'll bust the glass, grab what they need, and they’ll run off as fast as they can,” said Roberts.