Police issue warning after rash of smash and grabs - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Police issue warning after rash of smash and grabs

Posted: Updated:
Police want to talk to this man in connection with a Southport smash and grab. Police want to talk to this man in connection with a Southport smash and grab.
This purse, although on the floor of the vehicle, is still in plain sight. This purse, although on the floor of the vehicle, is still in plain sight.
And this is even more obvious. Police say it's an invitation to thieves. And this is even more obvious. Police say it's an invitation to thieves.
This is the suspect's vehicle in the Southport smash and grab. This is the suspect's vehicle in the Southport smash and grab.
INDIANAPOLIS -

Police in central Indiana are warning drivers after a series of smash and grab vehicle robberies. The incidents are frequently occurring outside large gyms, where customers have left purses in their cars.

Surveillance video caught an image of a suspect involved in a smash and grab on August 27. It happened at the LA Fitness on Southport Road.

The victim of the theft, Melinda Lindsey, is still in a bit of shock. She says she never thought it would be so easy to become the victim of a crime.

"We thought we were doing the right thing. I have pretty dark, tinted windows. I figured it was in the middle of the day, we parked right in the front row," Lindsey said.

As quickly as the thief made off with her purse, he put her credit cards to work even faster at stores in Greenwood.

"He bought gas and then went to Walgreens and bought cigarettes and M&M's and then went to Target and bought a $400 TV," Lindsey said.

Within hours, police obtained surveillance photos of the man using the stolen credit cards. Cameras captured him entering and exiting stores and at the checkout. A white Chevy four-door Impala was seen leaving the Walgreens store. Call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-8477 if you recognize the man in the picture.

Someone also mailed Lindsey her driver's license. She keeps it in a plastic bag, hoping police can get a fingerprint from the envelope.

The smash and grabs are not limited to Indianapolis. Incidents were reported at 10575 Workout Way and 1195 Central Park Drive (Monon Community Center) in Carmel, as well as incidents in Fishers, Whiteland, Lebanon, Pendleton (My Time Fitness) and Franklin.

Indianapolis Metro Police have investigated smash and grabs at 6925 West 38th Street and at 6160 North Keystone Ave. (LA Fitness parking lot) and at Southeast Way Park.

Police say you should hide your bookbag or purse in the trunk, out of the view of thieves. If you don't have a trunk, take your belongings with you. Lindsey now warns other drivers to think twice.

At the Monon Community Center, signs warn visitors about theft, but Eyewitness News still found purses in plain view in vehicles. One of the purses belongs to Daniela Rigmaden, who was leaving the family with her gym.

"Around here, I put it on the seat. Now if we would go out somewhere at night, I would put it under the seat," Rigmaden said.

But with smash and grab thieves preying on parks and gym parking lots, under the seat may still be too risky.

"Several people told me it's happened to them at the gym, at the park," Lindsey said.

Recent Gym Smash and Grabs

LA Fitness 6160 Keystone Ave. 7/23/2012

LA Fitness 9930 Pendleton Pike 8/10/2012

LA Fitness 3855 E. Southport Rd. 8/27/2012 

LA Fitness 9930 Pendleton Pike 9/18/2012

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Friends, colleagues remember life of slain IMPD officer

    Friends, colleagues remember life of slain IMPD officer

    Saturday, April 19 2014 12:34 PM EDT2014-04-19 16:34:23 GMT
    Picture provided by familyPicture provided by family
    The influence of an IMPD officer killed by her ex-husband in a murder-suicide went far beyond the police department. Neighbors and those who worked with Ofc. Kimberlee Carmack are still trying to understandMore >>
    The influence of an IMPD officer killed by her ex-husband in a murder-suicide went far beyond the police department.More >>
  • Franklin mom visited by phony CPS workers

    Franklin mom visited by phony CPS workers

    Thursday, April 17 2014 8:11 AM EDT2014-04-17 12:11:37 GMT
    A Franklin woman is warning other mothers after she says two people came to her house and threatened to take her children.More >>
    A Franklin woman is warning other mothers after she says two people came to her house and threatened to take her children.More >>
  • Murder-suicide tragedy rare, but followed pattern

    Murder-suicide tragedy rare, but followed pattern

    Friday, April 18 2014 11:49 PM EDT2014-04-19 03:49:46 GMT
    The domestic violence case that ended in the murder-suicide of two IMPD officers reveals a serious danger for police officers that goes far beyond the risks they face each day in the line of duty.More >>
    The domestic violence case that ended in the murder-suicide of two IMPD officers reveals a serious danger for police officers that goes far beyond the risks they face each day in the line of duty.More >>
Powered by WorldNow