• Business owners concerned after rash of smash-and-grab burglaries in Orange County

    By: Deanna Allbrittin


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Some business owners in south Orange County are now on high alert following a rash of recent smash-and-grab break-ins over the past two weeks.

    Officials said nine burglaries were reported in five shopping centers in less than an hour Sunday. That's in addition to four last week and one Thursday.

    In each case, suspects have broken through glass doors or windows before grabbing any items or cash that they can.

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    Surveillance showed one of the four burglaries between 5:40 a.m. and 5:59 a.m. Sunday in the area of South Apopka Vineland Road near the outlets. 

    After smashing in the door, the subjects walk out with thousands of dollars worth of electronics and $900 from the cash register. 

    A few miles away, Kay Hodgson's Woofgang Bakery and four other businesses were broken into between 6 and 6:19 a.m.

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    "Glass everywhere," Hodgson said. "Door is smashed in; luckily nothing was taken."

    Orange County officials haven't officially connected the set of break-ins, but Hodgson said it was the third time she was targeted in two years. 

    Hodgson said she's now looking into increased security measures and would like to see the strip mall install security cameras.

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    "They did say they're seeing an increase in crime in this area," Hodgson said. 

    Officials said the suspects wore gloves in both break-ins.

    Records showed an older model white car leaving both scenes at the time of the break-ins.

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