School delays and closings

Authorities search for suspects who broke into cars in child care parking lots

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Police in Hampton Roads are dealing with suspects targeting child care centers.

News 3 learned about a case out of the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office. Authorities say an unknown suspect broke into a locked car  at the Goddard School located in the 400 block of Hampton Highway by breaking the window. They said the suspect stole checks from the car.

Surveillance video captured a person cashing one of those checks at the 1st Advantage Federal Credit Union in Williamsburg.

A few weeks ago, News 3 obtained shocking video of brazen thieves caught on camera targeting a child care center in Chesapeake.

Chesapeake Police said there are six cases they are investigating of similar circumstances.

Wednesday they said no one has been arrested and they are still looking for the suspects.

Surveillance video caught two mothers being victimized in just a matter of minutes.

The video came from Katie Cornatzer, the owner of The Goddard School, a child care center in Chesapeake. It shows a silver Infiniti pulling up next to a minivan in the parking lot before the passenger smashes the window. The driver then backs the car out of the parking spot.

Cornatzer said the mother was inside picking up her child and had her purse stolen.

“It was just a very quick process, They know what they're doing,” said Cornatzer. “It’s just terrible this time of year. Parents are working hard and everybody is ready for the holidays.”

In the video, the silver car comes back minutes later. Cornatzer said the suspects stole another purse out of a different SUV.

You can see the first victim realizing her van was broken into as the suspects drive away.

People are outraged.

“It’s an invasion of privacy ventilation,” said parent Mary Hightower. “How could you think that anybody would do something like that?"

Chesapeake Police said they’re investigating six other cases like this which happened mostly at child care centers between December 7 and 11. They sent News 3 a list of the following locations:

  • 300 Cedar Lane - The Goddard School
  • 725 Greenbrier Parkway - KinderCare
  • 201 River Walk Parkway - Creative World School
  • 341 Volvo Parkway - La Petite Academy
  • 163 Mt. Pleasant Road - Apple Tree Learning Center
  • 901 Professional Place - Ocean Tumblers Gymnastics School

“You really have to be at the end of your rope to do something like that,” said Hightower.

The places affected care for little ones ranging from infants to kindergarten.

Cornatzer praised the police response and said extra patrols have been seen in the area.  She wants other child care centers and others to be warned.

“Parents need to be vigilant. Don't leave your older children in the car. Please bring in your purse and just be aware of what's going on,” she said.

The suspect in Williamsburg was driving newer model white Chevrolet Impala. If you’re able to identify this subject or you have any information regarding this incident, please contact the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office at 757-890-4999 or call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP (1-888-567-5887).

Related:

Thieves caught on camera after targeting Chesapeake child care centers