Thieves steal $3,800 while family sleeps

Annie Blanks | 315-4450 | @DestinLogAnnie |
Kim Nixon and her 13-year-old son Reese pose with his second place hammerhead shark caught in the Destin Fishing Rodeo. NIxon was robbed of $3,800 and was almost unable to take Reese fishing. ANNIE BLANKS/DESTIN LOG

Kim Nixon had been saving for two years to bring her son, 13-year-old Reese, to Destin to fish in the Destin Fishing Rodeo.

Nixon and Reese had been to the area several times before. Nixon, in fact, has been coming to Destin for at least 25 years. For the past few years she and her son have stayed at the Summerplace Inn condominiums on Okaloosa Island.

So this year, after having to forego coming down last year for financial reasons, Nixon, who lives in Georgia, was thrilled to be able to bring her son and mother down to the Gulf Coast and send Reese on a fishing trip to try his hand at reeling in a big one in the rodeo.

But on Oct. 21, the family’s first night in town, things took a turn for the worse when burglars entered the condo through an unlocked sliding glass door while the family was sleeping and stole $3,800 cash and $175 in Bass Pro Shops gift cards from Nixon’s and her mother’s purses.

“That morning, I got up and went to the patio,” Nixon said. “I looked and my purse was silting on the love seat. I opened it up and all of the money was gone and the Bass Pro gift cards were gone.”

Nixon had $3,300 and the gift cards in her purse, and her mother had $500 in her purse. Nixon said she had that much cash in her purse because she was going to pay the fishing boat captains in cash.

On the night of the burglary, Nixon said she locked the front door to the condo and went to bed while her son was in the condo’s pool. Her son came in through the back sliding glass doors at around 11:15 that night, and according to a police report filed with the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, he “didn’t remember” if he had locked the sliding glass door or not. 

Nixon said that she thinks her son did try to lock the door, however.

“You push it down and you think it’s locked, but because of the saltwater it rusts and doesn’t go all the way down,” she said. 

Regardless, after the police showed up the morning after the burglary on Oct. 22, Nixon said she was shocked to learn another disturbing detail.

“The police officer that had worked my robbery had just been there two weeks prior,” she said. “The same thing happened. Someone came in while the couple was sleeping and stole her $7,000 wedding ring.”

That incident occurred on Oct. 9, according to an incident report filed with the OCSO. In that case, burglars came in the middle of the night through the same unlocked sliding glass door and stole a total of $7,880 in cash and jewelry.

That case is inactive due to lack of leads, according to OCSO spokeswoman Michele Nicholson. Nixon’s case, however, is still pending, and she plans to file suit with the condo association owners over not disclosing the previous robbery to her.

“They were negligent in the fact that they had not told me there had been the same type of robbery,” she said. “What if we had woken up? If people are going in while people are sleeping, the public has a right to know that.”

The condo’s owner, Kim Johnson, who Nixon said is also president of the condo association, could not be reached for comment.

Despite the bad start to the week, Nixon’s son was still able to fish in the rodeo. In fact, he caught a 127.4-pound scalloped hammerhead shark that landed him on the daily leaderboard.

Still, the burglary experience soured Nixon’s trip, and she thinks condo associations need to be held accountable when things like burglaries happen to people who stay in their condos.

“We felt violated, we felt a little uneasy absolutely. We were up and down through the night,” she said. “There’s so many visitors that come to Destin and I just think the people that own the condos and the condo associations shouldn’t get off when something like this happens.”