Five homes in Emerald Harbor have been broken into since Dec. 12, according to Longboat Key police reports.
And the strangest things are being stolen from the homes in the 5800 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive.
In at least three of the burglaries, only the security alarm keypads were stolen from the interior walls of the
homes. Nothing else except minor valuables and some guns have been swiped from one of the homes. A large-screen television was stolen from a home in Lands End on Dec. 16.
Police Chief Al Hogle said his department has increased patrol in the neighborhood and surrounding area to combat the burglaries.
“It’s an increase in crime we’re not happy about,” said Hogle, who said he has no idea why burglars would be taking alarm keypads.
Hogle said the city of Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island also has experienced an increase in burglaries and alarm keypad thefts.
“We think it could possibly be a gang-initiation type of burglary,” Hogle said.
Whatever type of burglaries they are, the 81 homeowners of Emerald Harbor are not happy. Emerald Harbor resident Bob Craft is forming a neighborhood watch at Emerald Harbor’s Feb. 1 homeowner meeting to help control the crime wave with the assistance of Longboat Key Deputy Police Chief Martin Sharkey.
Craft believes the burglars are coming into the neighborhood, in part, via boats from the neighborhood’s bayfront canal.
“Forming a neighborhood watch is so easy to do, and it makes us all more aware of our neighbors and our surroundings,” said Craft, who is also urging the police department to install cameras on the island’s north and south bridges so pictures of potential criminals can be taken to help capture suspects.
The burglaries, Emerald Harbor resident Weldon Frost said, also has spurred many homeowners to increase security in their homes.
“I am one of the homeowners that’s getting ready to purchase an alarm system,” Frost said.
Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].