Victims speak out after Waco dog park became target of car burglars

WACO, TX (KWTX) – Several car burglaries have been reported in the past week and a dog park has become a target.

A sign now hangs outside the HOT Dog Park at 4900 Steinbeck Bend Drive warning residents to take extra precautions after a recent spate of car break-ins.

Taylor Timmerman and her boyfriend Justin Parra were enjoying a relaxing evening at the park with their dog, but it was interrupted when someone shouted that a car had just been broken into.

“They completely smashed my whole window,” Timmerman said. “They took my tote bag with my wallet, my credit cards, everything in it.”

There are still shards of glass in the parking lot. Timmerman just moved to the area and her boyfriend said he wanted to show off one of his favorite spots.

“I told him I wanted to take him to HOT Dog Park and show him how amazing it was,” Parra said. “The first day she is here, her car is broken into. A red Nissan Rouge had just started.

It’s a place people enjoy with family, friends and pets. For Gail Chancellor and her mother, Chancellor says they had only been there for a short time on Wednesday morning when they found both their car windows smashed.

“We went out and someone who had just arrived said, ‘Do you own these cars? There was only glass everywhere, the Chancellor said. “My mother and I’s cars were broken into.”

The Chancellor says someone was there mowing that he didn’t hear.

“I lost a ring that was really, really important to me,” she said.

The Chancellor says that with the number of people coming in and out of the park, she did not expect this to happen to her.

His vehicle was one of six vehicles broken into.

“I’m here to hang out with my dogs, enjoy the outdoors,” Chancellor said. “That’s the beauty of this place. It’s free for us to use and I think it’s amazing. It’s really sad that people take advantage of others with their guard down like that just to try to enjoy the day.

She hopes that by sharing her story, others will be more careful and not leave anything in vehicles.

The Park Advisory Board takes safety measures to help protect people in the future. They released the following statement.

“The Dog Park Advisory Board is angry that park users are being targeted for giving their canine companions exercise and fun. The council hopes the thief or thieves will soon be caught and, until then, encourages park users to take precautions to protect their cars and property, and to closely monitor the parking lot and comings and goings. We have a description of a vehicle and perpetrator, which has been shared with Waco PD, and we will continue to cooperate with the police department to stop these crimes and bring the thieves to justice. A meeting of park users to discuss how to implement and fund additional security measures is being planned and will be announced soon.

Waco police say it’s never a good idea to leave your stuff in the car. This becomes a crime of opportunity for thieves.

Authorities say to get everything out of your car, lock it, and if you are a victim of it, always report it.

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