LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – Scope out the parking lot. Smash window. Steal purse. Go to Dollar General. Repeat.

Courtesy – Lakeland Police Department

That’s what police say a woman has been doing at Polk County public parks throughout the summer.

“We have three current open cases here at the police department that we believe involve the same individual burglarizing vehicles,” said Robin Tillett, with the Lakeland Police Department.

According to police, the unidentified woman stole belongings on two occasions at Common Ground Park and one time at a park near Lake Parker. In two of those cases, police said she smashed windows to take the items.

“Once the vehicle burglary takes place, she goes to a Dollar General store and uses the stolen credit cards to buy other VISA gift cards or attempt to purchase those gift cards,” said Tillett.

The woman is allegedly crossing jurisdictions as she goes.

“It is the same kind of MO, same kind of method as what Lakeland’s investigating right now,” said Brian Bruchey with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office has one confirmed case at Simmers-Young Park, where what is believed to be the same suspect broke a window, stole a purse and tried to use a stolen credit card at Dollar General.

“[The victim] got a notification from one of her credit card companies that it was being used. That’s how she realized that something happened back at her car. She gets back to her car, she sees that the window’s broken,” said Bruchey.

There are other possible cases linked to the same woman in south Lakeland and Lake Wales.

“It’s scary to know that you come to a park that you take your kids at and it’s not safe for you to leave your stuff in your car,” said Kadian Irving, a parent who was visiting Common Ground Park Friday.

Irving made sure to bring her bag into the park with her.

The park has surveillance cameras and several signs reminding people to lock their cars and hide their valuables.

Police urge anyone who recognizes the woman to contact detectives at or

If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Heartland Crime Stoppers Florida by calling 1-800-226 TIPS (8477) or visiting You can also submit a tip from your cell phone by dialing **TIPS or by downloading the free “P3tips” app on your smartphone or tablet. Tipsters will remain anonymous when sending a tip through Crime Stoppers and could be eligible for a cash reward if the information leads to an arrest.