Allen thief targets parents during daycare drop-off rush

- Families that are rushing to get to work are being targeted by a thief. Police in Allen are investigating four car break-ins at four daycares that all happened Tuesday morning.

The daycares and pre-schools are not far from each other. Police suspect the same woman was burglarizing cars when parents were distracted during the drop-off time.

Surveillance video taken outside the Little Learners Daycare shows a woman taking advantage of a working mom's morning rush. It shows a stranger in a black car pull up next to Lateisha Johnson's minivan. The woman gets out, gets something out of her backseat, looks around and then makes her move.

That's how you know it's calculated,” Johnson said. “She opened her back door like she's getting a child, out then she went into my car.”

Johnson was only a few steps away, saw the woman inside her van and shouted at her. The woman dropped Johnson's purse and took off. Johnson says she realized that she left the minivan unlocked in her morning rush. And she's not alone.

Allen police believe the same suspect hit three other unlocked cars at three other daycares: Kindercare on Fountain Park Drive, Twin Oaks Private School on East Main Street and Brookhaven Preschool on South Jupiter. Police say all four locations saw break-ins between 8:10 a.m. and 8:45 a.m.

“They’re typically in a hurry,” said Allen Police Officer Sam Rippamonti. “You want to get in, get out and you don't think your vehicle is going to be broken into.”

Johnson is grateful her daycare has surveillance cameras that may help police catch a thief who's making life just that much tougher on working parents.

“Self-employed. I work six days a week,” Johnson said. “You have no right to steal what I work hard for.”

The suspect was in a black car without hubcaps or a front license plate. Allen police have notified other agencies nearby.

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