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3 Okaloosa Stories – Smash & Grab, Skimmers, Fatality

Smash & Grab

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a rash of “smash and grab” car burglaries that took place in Destin Tuesday evening. The crimes are believed to have all occurred between four and six p.m. and the thieves targeted primarily purses containing wallets.

The first report involved a car in the parking lot at the Bass Pro Shop in Destin. The owner returned from shopping to find the front passenger window smashed out. While deputies were on the scene, a call came in from two additional victims whose cars parked at Bubba Gumps Shrimp Company restaurant on Emerald Coast Parkway were also vandalized in the same way. Purses and wallets were taken and a victim learned one of her credit cards had been compromised at a Publix grocery store within five minutes of the theft.

Surveillance video captured the images below of two individuals conducting transactions for food and gift cards with the stolen card. A fourth smash and grab car burglary was reported at the Fudpuckers on Emerald Coast Parkway where the victim’s purse was stolen.

Anyone with information on the identity of the pair shown above or any of the car burglaries is asked to please contact the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office at 850-651-7400 or Emerald Coast Crime Stoppers at 850-863- TIPS,, or Text “TIP214 plus your message” to CRIMES (274637).


Gas Pump Skimmers Found In Okaloosa

Here is another report of credit card skimmers showing up in our area. The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the discovery of credit card skimmers found on pumps at two Destin area gas stations Wednesday. These devices allow credit card information to be stolen from the consumer and used to create new credit cards. This card information is either sold or used by the thieves to make purchases.

Here are some tips to avoid this credit card fraud activity:

  • Check to make sure the gas pump dispenser cabinet is closed and has not been tampered with. Many stations are now putting a piece of security tape over the cabinet to ensure it has not been opened by unauthorized individuals.
  • Try to use a gas pump closer to the front of the store. Thieves often place skimmers at the gas pumps further away from the store so they aren’t noticed as quickly.
  • Use a credit card instead of a debit card. Credit cards have better fraud protection and the money is not deducted immediately from an account.
  • If using a debit card at the pump, choose to run it as a credit card instead of using a PIN number. That way the PIN number is safe.
  • Monitor bank accounts regularly to spot any unauthorized charges.
  • Consumers who suspect their credit card number has been compromised should immediately report it to authorities and their credit card company.


Ft Walton Fatality

The FHP says, Friday morning a 2011 Harley Davidson was traveling north on the inside lane of State Road 85 above the posted speed limit of 35 miles per hour. The 31-year-old white male from Las Vegas failed to maintain the lane at the speed he was traveling while approaching other northbound motorists. The bike’s rider allowed the harley to drift into the center paved median, where the front tire struck the raised concrete median. The raised curb caused the bike to become airborne which resulted in the driver losing control of the bike. During the sequence of events, the rider was ejected.

Just prior to the crash two Ft. Walton Beach PD units witnessed the bike traveling north above the posted speed. The PD units pulled into traffic to attempting to overtake the bike and initiate a traffic stop. They traveled about two tenths of a mile and discovered the bike’s rider had lost control and crashed. The man was transported to FT. Walton Beach Medical Center where he was pronounced deceased by hospital staff.

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