String of smash-and-grab car robberies at Largo Plaza troubles local business owners


A series of smash-and-grab robberies have been disturbing shoppers and businesses at Largo Plaza in Maryland.

Cars have been broken into consistently at the shopping center, driving away customers from local businesses like those in Phenix Salon Suites.

“In the daytime, for some reason now, it’s bad,” Renaldo Williams, the owner of The Grooming Lounge, said. “You gotta keep your head on a swivel as you work.”

While Williams hasn’t slowed down his hair-cutting services, he said he’s found out that vigilance pays off for him and his customers.

“There’s no police presence at all,” Williams said.

A few doors down from Williams’ shop is another stylist who fell victim to the robberies. Andrea Butler said one of her colleagues went to her room one day and asked if she had someone in her car.

“I was like, ‘No, I didn’t. Keys right here’,” Butler said. “He said, ‘Well I think you better come on outside and see what’s going on’.”

A few hours later, there was another break-in in the same lot. Vehicle owners return to their cars and find smashed windows and broken glass.

“Youngins come out with the masks on, jumped into somebody’s car, broke into his car [in] less than 30 seconds and they’re gone,” Williams said.

People have called the police to report these crimes before. Williams watched a police response after a robbery had happened.

“They go up there and chase them and they get away,” Williams said. “I asked the officer later what happened [and] he said they hit Central Avenue and they got away but they also hit four cars at the same time.”

Residents in the neighborhoods around the shopping center say they have the same issue with parked cars on their streets.

Last year, the Phenix Salon Suites were subject to another crime where someone drove a truck through a back wall. They stole the ATM too.

Since these crimes started happening, the stylists at the Phenix have offered their customers advice as they get their hair cut.

“Even if you have to walk a little distance, just park it somewhere where there’s traffic — more walking traffic,” Williams said.

Butler said that the Plaza needs more patrols and more officers, not just security patrols.

There have been no arrests in connection to any of the car break-ins yet.

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