Smash-and-grab burglaries on the Treasure Coast

Posted at 11:30 PM, Jan 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-07 23:30:33-05

Four smash-and-grab burglaries on the Treasure Coast at gas stations Tuesday morning may be tied to the same person, according to police.

Port St. Lucie Police released surveillance video of a man breaking into a Port St. Lucie BP Amoco gas station on Gatlin Blvd. and taking off with three cash register trays.

Master Sgt. Frank Sabol, with Port St. Lucie Police, says investigators believe the burglaries started at a gas station in Martin County. Then, he says the thief hit the Port St. Lucie gas station, then two others in St. Lucie County within a short time frame.

St. Lucie County Public Information Officer, Bryan Beaty, says the Town Start Gas Station on Midway Rd. and the EKE Mobil Gas station on Midway road were targeted that same morning.

Investigators are also working to determine if the same thief is responsible for smash-and-grab burglaries on December 10 in St. Lucie County at the Lakewood Park Pub Liquor Store on Kings Highway, and the Chevron Gas Station on Indrio Rd.

In each case Tuesday, minimal cash was taken, but cash register drawers were stolen. Investigators believe the thief had someone in a get-away car waiting for him. The burglaries took less than a minute to complete.

The BP Amaco gas station owner in Port St. Lucie, June Alam, says the damage left behind is a bigger hit than the money lost. “The computer cost almost $500, the glass door is $350…and the lottery computer broke,” Alam said.

Port St. Lucie detectives found three cash register drawers tossed on the Interstate.

Business wasn’t interrupted at Alam’s store, but he says his sense of security is at an all time low. “I am very nervous.”

Sabol says police will be notifying other gas station owners in the area about the crimes so they can be on guard.

“They’re going to continue to do it until they get caught,” Sabol said.

Sabol says the thief was wearing gloves when he stole the register trays, but investigators recovered one of the gloves. Sabol says he may have thrown the register trays out of a car window when he didn’t have the gloves on. Detectives are hopeful to lift fingerprints off the trays to identify a suspect.