A man was caught on camera Wednesday morning breaking into the SUV of a woman who was dropping her child off at daycare.
Surveillance footage shows a mother park her SUV in French Creek Plaza at 8910 Bandera Road and walk her child into the Kids Are Angels Learning Center.
A silver Suburban parked next to the woman’s SUV backs out and before it rolls away a tan Suburban pulls up behind it and reverses into the now-empty space.
Then, a man wearing a hooded jacket and baseball cap opens the back door, shatters the window of the woman’s SUV, steals her purse and the Suburban drives away.
From ‘door open’ to ‘door close,’ the theft took just seconds.
Surveillance cameras at the Vision Source store next to the learning center caught recorded the theft.
Employees arrived to start the workday roughly 7 to 10 minutes later and saw the shattered glass.
“You know, sometimes parents are in a rush and we're trying to do the best we can,” said Vision Source employee, Roxanne Martinez. “We're trying to get to work on time, do the best we can to provide for our children. And then someone can so easily come in and destroy that within seconds. Its horrible."
Before the break-in, the footage shows the tan Suburban driving through the parking lot as if looking for an easy target.
Employees of the shopping center say the area has seen a rash of car break-ins in the past, but it’s been about a year and a half since then.
Worried that this could be the start of another troubling trend, the learning center is warning all parents to be extra careful.
Parents have been alerted to the theft via email and posted warnings at the learning center.
"Even though its going to take you five seconds to drop off your child, I just say just grab your stuff and lock the doors,” said Jaira Panchecho, an employee at Kids Are Angels. “If something happens like that, at least you have your stuff with you when it happened."
Not only was the victim’s wallet inside her purse, but so was her cell phone, driver’s license and the keys to her house.
She says the thieves racked up more than $600 in charges in less than an hour at a grocery store, car wash, gas station and drug store.
“It could’ve happened with your child in the vehicle, or what if you would’ve left your other child in the vehicle?” said Martinez.
The victim did file a report with SAPD.