St. Petersburg Police Report Increase of Smash and Grab Theft

Spokesman says local retailers increasingly hit by smash-and-grab thefts during overnight hours


WILLIAM PROFFITT - Spokesman for the St. Petersburg Police Department

There have been a high number of "smash and grab" burglaries - where suspects smash out a front window during the overnight hours and grab merchandise as quickly as possible - in the past few weeks.

Burglars in these cases took items such as cash, cigarettes, jewelry or electronics.

Citywide, there were 3,466 burglaries in 2006, a 1.9 percent reduction from the year before. This number includes commercial, residential and vehicle burglaries.

These cases are investigated by St. Petersburg's burglary unit, which reviews every burglary report that comes in. All cases with investigative leads are assigned to a detective.

Those include cases that have a known suspect or suspect description, found latent fingerprints or those that fit a geographic pattern or trend.

The department also conducts free security surveys of city businesses to identify ways to make them more secure.

For its work in closing a high volume of cases, the burglary unit was named the department's "2006 Unit of the Year."