CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Police are investigating a string of car break-ins at day cares in Chesterfield County.
Police said the first incident happened Thursday morning around 7:10 at Clover Hill Children's Center on Chital Drive.
Renee, a Chesterfield mom, was dropping her daughter off when she noticed a suspicious vehicle.
“He tried to back into the angled spots a few times. I think he noticed he was out of place,” said Renee. “For me that was kind of rare because we all have been here plenty of times to know how to park our vehicles. I kind of shook it off, dropped my daughter off and left.”
Moments after Renee left, police said a locked vehicle with a purse on the passenger side seat was broken into.
“They went inside to drop their child off and when they came back out their window had been smashed and the purse had been taken,” said Renee.
Five minutes later, surveillance video captured the same white vehicle that police described as “a newer style Chevrolet 4 door, white in color with no front plate, possibly an impala” pulling next to an SUV outside the Midlothian Kids’ Academy on Temie Lee Parkway.
Police said the suspect stole a purse from the unlocked vehicle.
“People are out there they may be watching and it doesn’t take long to get into your car,” said Chesterfield Police Corporal Matthew Rogers. “If you think it is suspicious please still call us."
Advice, Renee is now giving, even in the places she feels safe.
“You just have to follow your instincts. I probably could have helped the situation had I payed a little more attention,” Renee said.
Police said prevention is key.
“Number one thing is to always remember to lock your vehicle and also not leave any valuable items out where they can be seen from outside the car. Try to put them under your seat if possible, put them in the trunk, if you don’t have a trunk put something over top of it,” said Corporal Rogers.
Anyone with information that could help investigators, should call the Chesterfield County Police Department at 804-748-1251 or Crime Solvers at 804-748-0660.
Letters were sent to parents at both day cares warning of the break-ins.
Clover Hill Children’s Center letter:
Please do not leave your purses or wallets in your vehicles unattended. This morning at 7:10 am a car window was punched out and a purse was stolen in our parking lot. (The doors were locked.) At 7:30am today, a purse was stolen from a car parked in another childcare center near us. (the doors were not locked.) Criminals are watching parents walk their children into centers without purses knowing purses must be in the cars unattended.
This morning, 2 cars were parked with engines running while children were dropped off and this afternoon I witnessed 2 more cars left on as children were picked up. If criminals will break a window for a purse they will surely break a window for a running vehicle. In addition, criminals are striking neighborhoods. Keep your vehicles locked and remove important items!!!
Midlothian Kids Academy letter:
This a friendly reminder for our families at Midlothian Kids Academy to ensure safety during drop off and pick up. We had an incident happen this morning in the parking lot where items were stolen from a parent’s unlocked car. We encourage you to lock your vehicles during drop off and pick up. Safety is our number one priority here at Midlothian Kids Academy. Thank you for your cooperation. If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to call me. Thank you