Thieves targeting parents as they drop off kids at day care

By Gianna Caserta - Reporter

HOUSTON - There is a growing crime trend targeting parents as they drop off their children at day care.

All of the victims say it happens the same way, they get out of their cars to go pick their children up inside, but they leave their purse in the car. As soon as they walk inside, that is when the thieves strike.

"I was parked right here, you can still see the glass on the ground," said victim Meredith Gomez.

A sign on the front door of the Messiah Lutheran Early Childhood Center warns parents against leaving valuables in their cars after two vehicles were smashed and ransacked in the day care's parking lot.

"Within the past year we have had three break-ins, but two of them have been within the past three weeks, and it is very quick smash and grab," said Stacey Viviano, Director of the Messiah Lutheran Early Childhood Center.

She was one of those victims. Her lock was pushed in and a diaper bag stolen.

Meredith Gomez was also targeted. She says she left her purse in the car and ran inside the day care to pick up her daughter. But while inside, someone smashed her window and stole her purse.

"I was kind of overwhelmed. This is where my daughter spends eight hours a day. This is where I take her to and from our home, and school, and the store, this is a safe place for us so I felt really vulnerable," Gomez said.

Now parents are more aware and keeping their eyes out for someone lurking in the parking lot.

"The police officer said that he thinks that he was probably watching. I think that if they see you leave your car without a purse, they know it is in your car," said Gomez.

The day care is planning a fundraiser to help raise money to buy a security system and it is looking into getting a security guard to patrol the area.

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