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2 teenagers confess to over a dozen car burglaries in Port St. Lucie

WPEC West Palm Beach logo WPEC West Palm Beach 5/13/2022 Luli Ortiz

A gun, cash, and other valuable items stolen following a rash of car burglaries in Port St. Lucie.

Port St. Lucie police arrested two teens after they confessed to taking items left sitting out in 15 unlocked cars this week.

The 15-year-old and 16-year-old were taken to St. Lucie Regional Juvenile Detention Center Wednesday night.

They were charged with 14 counts of burglary, 9 counts of larceny, 1 count of armed robbery, 1 count of grand theft of a firearm and 1 count of illegal use of a credit card.

A crime of opportunity that Jennifer Watson learned the hard way.

"We just happened to forget that day, and I guess that was our unlucky day,” said Jennifer Watson.

She said the two high school students took her wallet and ransacked her daughter’s car.

“While they were still there collecting evidence, I looked at my online banking and realized that my debit card was used, and then I shared with them the information,” said Watson.

The suspicious activity on Watson's bank account led officers to a McDonalds, where police obtained a crucial clue; surveillance video showing the teens inside their car, using the stolen credit card at a drive thru.

This is what investigators needed to identify and arrest the students.

“The original suspect we had caught instantly felt terrible for what he had done. He wasn't targeting anybody. He just was out making bad decisions,” said Port St. Lucie Detective Christopher Capozzi.

Detectives later learned the teens had tossed one of the stolen items, a gun, into a canal before firing two rounds in the water near several homes.

“We were mucking around for 25-30 minutes,” said Crime Scene Technician Joel Smith.

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Investigators eventually found it.

“By recovering a gun, prevents any additional crimes that can happen within the city. Again, it goes back to prevent the crime itself,” said Port St. Lucie Detective Daniel Papaleo.

SEE ALSO: Altercation at Palm Beach Gardens school leads to three in police custody

Police caught the teens, but they hope it serves as an important reminder about locking your car doors and not leaving anything of value inside your car overnight or when it's parked.

Authorities also say some people still may not know they've been a victim of the car burglaries, but if something feels unusual or out of place, give them a call.

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