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Police Hunting For Daycare Smash-And-Grab Thieves

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The search is on for some smash-and-grab thieves. They are on the loose, but have been caught on camera, targeting mothers outside North Texas daycare centers.

Investigators across North Texas say they’ve seen more smash and grabs lately. But it’s where the crimes are happening that has them concerned.

Most of the theft are happening in front of daycare centers — often when both children and parents are all around.

Investigators say the thieves can be so bold because it takes just seconds for them to steal their items and be gone.

Victim Susan Gonzalez remembers taking her son to daycare. “I was just dropping him off,” she said.

Gonzalez’s story is familiar to police She went inside to pick her son up at daycare and when she returned to her car – less than five minutes later – her window was shattered. “I looked down and my purse was gone.”

Her story is almost identical to Eva Jackson’s “I never leave it [purse] in the car except here – because the school… it’s quick, easy, it’s just moms and dads. You trust everyone.”

“We have a never ending stack of these it feels like,” Carrolton police Detective Jennifer Skertich said frustrated. According to Detective Skertich, these latest culprits are difficult to catch because they’re so good at the thefts.

In video was taken out in front of yet another Carrolton daycare, the suspect sits in a rented Lincoln – while the soon to be victim pulls up right next to him. When the woman gets out of the vehicle, without her purse, the suspect takes it as a cue.

As soon as the woman walks inside the suspect breaks the window, steal the purse, and is gone in seconds.

“They are not getting caught like you think they would during the day, with people around but it’s hard to catch them,” Detective Skertich said.

“You feel violated,” Gonzalez said. She just found out someone withdrew $3,000 from her bank account.

Investigators say there’s no scaring these thieves away. Your only protection is by leaving nothing in your vehicle to steal and send them down the road empty handed.

Police say they’ve run into problems trying to catch these suspects because many of them are using rented vehicles and stolen license plates when committing the crimes; that means surveillance video and vehicle descriptions are of little help.

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