• Brevard Co. law officers stepping up 'pillowcase bandits' patrol


    BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - All across Brevard County, law enforcement agencies have stepped up patrol.

    They're looking for an organized group of burglars smashing into and ransacking homes in the middle of the day.

    "This is one of the most serious property crimes we can have, somebody invading somebody's residence," West Melbourne Police Chief Richard Wiley said.

    Several police agencies, the Sheriff's Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement held a joint news conference, looking to get the word out, at West Melbourne police headquarters Monday.

    In south Florida, the group has earned the name "The Pillowcase Bandits" because of the way they fill up pillow cases with loot and take off quickly.

    WFTV first told you about the cases a couple of months ago.

    Several homes in Suntree, an upscale community, got hit.

    Investigators said well-dressed men and women who drive newer cars will stop at homes.

    They'll ring the bell. If no one answers, they smash in through the back of the house.

    The big concern in some cases is that some people have been home when the suspects barged in.

    "Anytime you can come into contact with someone in your home that's an intruder, those kinds of situations can become violent. We're trying to get the information out so we can avoid those situations," said Melbourne Police Department Chief Steve Mimbs.

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    Brevard Co. law officers stepping up 'pillowcase bandits' patrol