4 teens arrested for ‘car hopping’ in Hillsborough County

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Four teens are facing several charges after being arrested for nighttime crime sprees in Hillsborough County.

Deputies say several vehicle burglaries and auto thefts happened within the county between October 18 and October 29. In each case, the vehicles were unlocked and had valuables in plain view.

The sheriff’s office says the thefts took place during crime sprees referred to as “car hopping.”

During the sprees, the teens walked down streets and tried opening car doors. Once they were inside, deputies say the teens took items or the vehicle itself if the keys were inside.

Investigators believe five stolen vehicles are tied to the suspects, including one from Pinellas County. Three firearms were taken from unlocked cars. None of them have been recovered.

The teens now face a variety of charges including burglary of a conveyance and grand theft.

One of the suspects, a 16-year-old from Wimauma, has been arrested a total of 17 times for similar offenses.

The sheriff’s office calls “car hopping” a significant problem in south Hillsborough County because of the large subdivisions that make it easy for criminals. They want to remind everyone to lock their cars or remove any valuables, keys and firearms.

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