Police respond after thieves target Lakeland senior living facility

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) — Nearly a dozen seniors living in a Lakeland housing community woke up Monday to find their cars had been broken into and their valuables had been stolen.

Lakeland senior facility targeted

The vandalism happened early Monday morning. Vandals hit cars in the parking lot of the Renaissance at Washington building, which is operated by the Lakeland Housing Authority. At least 16 cars were vandalized in the neighborhood, including 11 in the parking lot.

On Thursday the Lakeland Housing Authority held a meeting and brought in Lakeland Police Department officers so residents could express their safety concerns.

“This is my third time being vandalized. Some of these people don’t have insurance. They calling me asking me what to do. I hope that they catch whoever did this because we have been violated,” said Theola Dowe, whose car was broken into. Her window is still busted out, with a shower curtain hanging over it.

The incident was caught on grainy security footage, prompting residents to plea for better security cameras and a stronger security presence.

“We plan to add security guards over the summer, partly because of this,” Housing Authority Executive Director Ben Stevenson said.

Stevenson also said the agency will work with police to add extra patrols.

As of Thursday afternoon, police had questioned one juvenile. Investigators believe he is connected to the thefts. Police said they are zeroing in on two more suspects and plan to make an arrest very soon.

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