PBSO Operation Open Doors nets 35 arrests in Wellington, Royal Palm


As South Florida communities continue to deal with an increase in vehicle break-ins, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office last month launched an effort to crack down on the illegal activity in the western communities.

PBSO Districts 8 and 9 in Wellington and Royal Palm Beach came together for Operation Open Doors, from May 7-20, which involved deputies from the sheriff’s office road patrol, detective bureau, gang unit and South Florida Task Force, PBSO spokeswoman Teri Barbera said.

WELLINGTON READERS: Sign up for The Post’s weekly newsletter for Wellington news

“Due to a significant increase in both vehicle burglaries as well as stolen automobiles happening in District 9 and District 8 over the past several months, a cooperative effort … was put in place,” Barbera said. “The goal was to identify those responsible for the crimes, ensure successful prosecution and deter further crimes.”

Between the two communities, PBSO deputies made 19 felony and 16 misdemeanor arrests, served five warrants, recovered a stolen vehicle and two handguns, issued 13 criminal citations and seven traffic citations, and seized about 100 grams of marijuana and $3,000.

Crime was up slightly in Wellington last year driven largely by the spike in stolen cars and vehicle break-ins, PBSO reported earlier this year. Royal Palm Beach’s crime rate dropped last year, with each category of crime decreasing except stolen vehicles.

READ MORE:

Crime up slightly in Wellington thanks to car thefts, break-ins

Crime down in Royal Palm Beach despite rise in stolen cars, PBSO says

While the number of car break-ins dropped immediately after Operation Open Doors, Wellington village manager Paul Schofield said in a memo sent to the village council Tuesday that there was a “significant” increase in auto burglaries reported last week there, with 18 vehicles broken into. Of those, he said, every car was unlocked.

Finding unlocked cars has been the key to many of the vehicle burglaries happening in Wellington, Schofield told The Palm Beach Post last week. People trying to break into cars will walk down a street trying door handles until they come across an unlocked car. “Even if they just get change, they’re going to get a few hundred dollars in a night,” he said.

RELATED: Wellington plans to use license-plate readers to help stop car thieves

The same problem has plagued Royal Palm Beach, village manager Ray Liggins said. “You don’t want to think there’s people out there that would do that,” he said of those who go street to street “flipping door handles.”

He called on residents to remove valuable items from their cars and lock them before heading inside their homes. “Make it a little bit hard for them,” Liggins said.

PBSO and Wellington are taking the step of installing a license-plate reading system at key intersections. Officials have said they hope the system will cut down on the number of stolen cars and auto burglaries in the village.




Next Up in Local

PBSC to open expanded food pantry on Lake Worth’s campus on Tuesday
PBSC to open expanded food pantry on Lake Worth’s campus on Tuesday

On Tuesday, Palm Beach State College is opening an expanded food pantry to help students who are struggling financially. “Our students are disproportionately effected by the economy,” said Jeannie Hoban, director of the college’s student counseling center. “We hope by doing this … we can support our students and help...
Rally for Puerto Rico draws hundreds to Mar-a-Lago, West Palm
Rally for Puerto Rico draws hundreds to Mar-a-Lago, West Palm

As Hurricane Maria battered Puerto Rico a year ago, Sylvia Chaluissant watched water pour into her home through the electrical outlets in the walls. Soon after, her home was flooded and her furniture was ruined. “And I was one of the lucky ones,” the Puerto Rican native said Saturday. Chaluissant was one of about 800 protesters gathered...
Gardens lowers tax rate; bills could still go up with property values
Gardens lowers tax rate; bills could still go up with property values

Palm Beach Gardens officials approved a budget Thursday that includes money to create new jobs, continue publishing the city magazine, maintain parks and recreation facilities and offer economic development incentives. RELATED: Gardens council OKs 12 percent raises for police Helping pay for those expenses, the city’s overall value increased...
PHOTOS: Baby Trump balloon makes appearance at protest in West Palm Beach
PHOTOS: Baby Trump balloon makes appearance at protest in West Palm Beach

fThe Baby Trump balloon made the first of what likely will be many appearances in Palm Beach County at a protest and rally Saturday at the Meyer Amphitheater in West Palm Beach to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria’s direct hit to Puerto Rico. Below are embedded Tweets. If you don't see that content please, follow Ian...
LIVE: Around 800 including Gillum, Nelson at anti-Trump, pro-Puerto Rico rally in West Palm Beach
LIVE: Around 800 including Gillum, Nelson at anti-Trump, pro-Puerto Rico rally in West Palm Beach

UPDATE 5 p.m.: Democratic candidate for governor Andrew Gillum addressed with crowd, saying: "We shouldn’t have to remind this country to do right by the people in this country."  UPDATE: 4:25 p.m.: Police are estimating the crowd at around 750 to 800 people. UPDATE 3:30 p.m.: Trump supporters arrived at the Meyer...
More Stories