SJSO reports on recent rash of burglaries at MSD meeting


The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office has responded to a recent rash of burglaries, Deputy Dwayne Cieslik told attendees at the Ponte Vedra Beach Municipal Service District (MSD) meeting Monday night.

Cieslik referred to the crime trend as a “circuit” and explained that the perpetrators are starting in the northern part of the county, working their way south and then circling back.

Within the MSD, there were three vehicle burglaries, one grand theft and one petit theft reported in March. Cieslik noted, however, that these statistics are not entirely representative of all recent burglaries in the MSD. Victims whose unlocked cars were broken into, he said, often decided not to report the crimes.

Cieslik indicated that vehicle “smash and grabs” are rare within the area, but when they do happen, they typically occur in the parking lots of Mickler’s Landing Beach and Guana Tolomato Matanzas (GTM) National Estuarine Research Reserve. He also noted that a vehicle break-in occurred at Mickler’s.

In other MSD business, Trustee Brad Wester notified the board that all beach access points have been repaired by the county while Trustee Kitty Switkes shared an update on post-hurricane beach renourishment. Switkes said the county recently calculated that the nine-mile stretch of beach from Duval County to two miles south of Mickler’s Beach lost 300,000 cubic yards of sand from June to November 2016, due in large part to Hurricane Matthew. That equates to 17,000 truckloads of sand, said Switkes.

The county is hoping this data will encourage the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to designate the shoreline as “critically eroded,” which would make it eligible for state assistance.

Before adjourning the meeting, Chairman John Wegl reminded the board about the traffic town hall April 25 at 7 p.m. at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall. At the meeting, the Citizens Traffic Task Force (CTTF) will join with traffic consultants from the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization (NFTPO) to present the results of a Ponte Vedra Beach traffic study, along with recommended improvements to local roadways. Following the presentation, Wegl said, the public will have an opportunity to ask questions and offer feedback.

“It’s important that everybody shows up so they can find out what the options are and what the problems may be,” Wegl said.