Serial burglars targeting travelers have stolen luggage and valuables from parked cars five times in the last two months at a popular Dania Beach restaurant, authorities said Friday.
The unidentified suspects have repeatedly struck outside of the Rustic Inn Crabhouse at 4331 Ravenswood Road, the Broward Sheriff’s Office said. It’s a hot spot among tourists coming from the airport, cruise ships and area hotels.
Surveillance video taken Dec. 9 shows a pair of thieves with an appetite for stolen property breaking into a minivan outside of the restaurant. The duo is seen pulling up in an older model, light-colored, four-door sedan. The passenger gets off, breaks into a tourist's minivan and takes three backpacks, a camera, laptop and cash before wiping the vehicle down to remove his fingerprints and fleeing.
Dave Erwin of Philadelphia is one tourist that likes to dine at the Rustic Inn. He said he hopes the thieves are caught because "that's the sort of stuff that deters tourism."
On Friday night, the restaurant was buzzing with patrons like Marco Rojas, who was visiting from Costa Rica. He urged vigilance.
"If we're a little bit more aware and conscious than none of that would happen," Rojas said.
As one of their deputies keeps an eye on the place, the BSO released the surveillance video in hopes that someone will recognize the thieves and turn them in. They are also asking tourists and residents to be on alert.
Barry Drescher from Atlanta said he hides all of his valuables.
"We put it in the trunk before we get to the stop where we're going because we don't want to stop and then open up the trunk and if somebody's watching us, see everything in the trunk," he said.
"Like we say, out of sight out if mind," Drescher explained.
The BSO is asking anyone with information on the thieves to call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Crime Stoppers will pay up to $3,000 for information that leads to an arrest.