Stephanie Laplante had her purse stolen from her van. (Source: KLTV staff)
Scratches on the door handle from the thieves. (Source: KLTV staff)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -
A string of car burglaries at Tyler State Park put officials on high alert. On Thursday three separate reports came in all stating cars had been broken into and purses snatched. An investigation is now underway. One East Texas mother whose purse was stolen said it wasn’t her credit cards that were hardest to see gone.
“We spent all day swimming and when we came back to our car we loaded up, the kids were tired, so we went. I was going to make a quick trip to the grocery store and I got to the grocery store and my purse was gone,” Stephanie Laplante, whose purse was stolen, explained.
Laplante had left her purse near the center console, covering it with a stuffed animal, assuming it would be safe.
“They broke in. The window was cracked just a few inches,” she said.
Those few inches were enough to get in. Only scratches were left behind, but two other cars had their windows shattered. The thieves took credit cards, cash, and purses, but something else was in Laplante’s bag.
“What really kind of upset me the most, my kids have worked so hard, we’re a large family, there’s seven of us and they had earned passes to the skating rink in Nacogdoches and to the Splash Kingdom Water Park and those were gone and there wasn’t a way we could go to the park without having those passes,” she said.
Her children had earned those free passes for good grades at school. The family can’t afford to purchase any more.
“It’s really sad that you can’t go and be safe in places like that and feel like something’s going to be stolen from you,” she said.
Park officials said theft is rare at the state park, but diligence is key.
“I think anywhere we go it’s a good idea to roll up your windows, to hide your valuables or take them with you, lock them in the trunk, and then make sure to lock your vehicle,” Casey Heideman, with Tyler State Park, said.
There is one thing Laplante is glad the thieves got their hands on.
“I had my bible in the purse so maybe they’ll read it,” she said.
Several agencies are looking into these thefts. They are currently going back through surveillance video to see if any of it was caught on tape.