Miami's Coral Gate neighborhood - located just north of Coral Gables - has been hit by a suspected serial car burglar.
Police are reporting that there have been a large number of car break-ins and attempted car break-ins.
The burglary of a car in the State of Florida is known as burglary of an unoccupied conveyance. This crime is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
The accused can also be charged with accompanying crimes, such as criminal mischief for any damage done, and a number of theft crimes (either misdemeanor or felony) depending on the value of the items taken.
Many of the homes in this neighborhood reportedly have video surveillance that can capture footage of their driveways. Police will review the tapes to see if they can identify a suspect. Fingerprints will be taken from each vehicle to determine if a suspect can be located through state and national fingerprint databases.
If a suspect is caught, police will try to elicit a confession out of that person in order to link up all of the burglaries.
In addition to possible felony convictions and prison time, these crimes normally involve alleged victims who have incurred a financial loss due to the stolen items and damage to the car. Restitution is almost always an issue in these types of cases.
Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney representing clients charged with burglary in Miami-Dade and Broward.