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Thieves targeting cars at child care centers

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 7, 2000

Police are looking for one or two thieves who have been stealing purses and checkbooks from the cars of parents parked outside preschools and day care centers. The thieves often write out stolen checks for cash immediately.

St. Petersburg police released a photograph from a bank camera they say shows a woman cashing a stolen check minutes after one of the recent auto burglaries. Detectives want to learn her identity. Authorities are investigating 15 such thefts -- eight in St. Petersburg, four in St. Pete Beach and three in areas patrolled by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

"These are cases where mothers are dropping kids off or picking kids up," said St. Petersburg police spokesman Dan Bates. "They don't expect to be away from the vehicle for very long."

The woman is white, stocky, in her 20s, with brown, wavy, shoulder-length hair. Anyone who recognizes her is asked to call St. Petersburg Detective James Dressback at 893-4063, St. Pete Beach Detective Ron Russo at 363-9215, or sheriff's Detective Randy Jones at 582-6583.

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