An alleged purse thief who specifically preyed on SUVs in the parking lots of major parks has been charged in a spree of auto burglaries near Audubon Park, police said Wednesday.
An investigation into auto break-ins around City Park led detectives to search the home of 24-year-old Michael A. Short, where they found credit cards and drivers’ licenses that could eventually link him to 30 or 40 burglaries, said Sgt. Warren Keller of the NOPD Second District property-crimes division. Among the stolen cards were a debit card stolen July 11 and a credit card stole Aug. 2, both from cars parked right by Audubon Park, Keller said, and detectives are following up on three more cards also believed to be linked to Audubon Park auto break-ins.
Short was using a small tool that “pops” a window out by shattering it with a single tap, said Lt. Chuck Little of the NOPD Second District day shift. Witnesses described him hanging around the parking lot, waiting for women to leave SUVs — which are particularly vulnerable because they have no trunk to lock valuables in, Little said.
“He knows the women have purses,” Little said. “He can get in there, steal the purse and use the credit card before they finish their run.”
Short is currently charged with three counts of simple burglary. Nearly a dozen vehicles were reported broken into around the park during July and early August, according to city records.