Police believe handicap placards targeted in string of break-ins in Billerica

Police are investigating after at least a dozen cars were broken into in a sprawling apartment complex in Billerica.

Many of the victims were forced to clean up and fix broken windows after the crime spree, but they were also forced to replace something that helps them with their everyday mobility: handicap placards.

"How low of a person could you be?" Thomas Simone Jr. said. "It's not just the damage you do, it's how it's going to affect the person you do it to."

Police believe Simone and several of the other victims in the spree were targeted for the placards displayed in their vehicles.

"What would you do with that? These are registered," Simone said. "When they sell these things and replace it with their names, whoever they sell it to."

The 76-year-old disabled veteran, who also had his GPS stolen, is now faced with the hassle of having to go to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, followed by the potential of a long waiting game for another placard.

Simone's neighbor Lorraine Evans is in the same predicament.

"Whoever is doing it, stop," Evans said. "It’s putting me through hell. It’s not fair, I have doctor’s appointments to get to."

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The fibromyalgia Evans suffers from makes it tough to get around, and she's dreading the process of replacing the placard she depends on.

Meanwhile, she's still left to sort out the fix for her broken window.

“I’ve been calling all places all day to find a good quote," Evans said. "I can’t afford this, but I’m going to have to.”

There are no surveillance cameras lining the property at the Villas at Old Concord Apartments on Riverhurst Road, but management did send an email alert to the hundreds of residents at the complex.

Police said they are still searching for leads, and questioning if the car break-ins could be connected to some other ones that happened elsewhere in town Wednesday night.