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Panama City Police searching for suspect(s) in string of car burglaries

Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 10:41 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - In one quiet Panama City neighborhood, you can find people leaving their cars behind to go on walks -- many would say you wouldn’t expect crime to happen here.

“I felt pretty safe in my neighborhood, until now,” Candlewick Resident Tammy McDermott.

But now, Candlewick neighborhood residents are on high alert. Panama City Police Detective Kenton Baker said they’ve been the target of several crimes.

“The last 24 hours, we’ve had so far three car burglaries,” said Baker.

He added these burglaries have something in common.

“It seemed to be that they were targeted for the firearms,” said Baker.

Three firearms in total were stolen and are now on the streets.

“That’s scary to know, I mean because I watch my grandkids all the time, and just knowing those guns are out there, it’s really scary,” said McDermott.

A scary thought for some, especially when they said they never thought it would happen here.

“That’s terrible. I, myself, don’t keep my car locked when I’m here,” Brooke Cotton, who has family residing in Candlewick, said.

Baker said all three of these vehicles were left unlocked and he expects more burglaries to happen.

“When these firearms owned by responsible gun owners are taken and they’re taken by people who are not responsible firearm owners, these people are committing crimes with these firearms, they’re selling these firearms, and they’re just ending up in the wrong hands,” said Baker.

That’s why police officials want to remind residents to be proactive in protecting valuables. Some tips they offer are do not leave your vehicle unlocked, do not leave any keys inside your vehicle, secure your trunk, and do not leave any purses, bank cards, or electronics inside your vehicles.

“I’ll definitely start locking it,” said Cotton.

Locking your car, so you’re not the victim of losing something valuable to you.

Again, Baker said the suspect or suspects are still on the loose and this is an active investigation. If you have any information about this investigation, you’re urged to call the Panama City Police Department.

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