Tag Archives: burglary

What to Do When Your Home Has Been Burglarized

burglarThere are few events worse than coming home and discovering that your personal and private space has been violated. No one ever expects that a break-in will happen at their home and when it does many are caught so off guard that they are not certain of what to do next. In the event that you are the victim of a break-in, the following are just a few of the things that you should do as soon as possible in order to secure your home, allow a proper police report and ensure your family’s safety.

Make Sure No One is In the Home

Whether family member or criminal, try to determine if anyone is inside of the home. We don’t suggest checking closets and under beds by yourself as this may lead to a confrontation if a thief is still inside when you arrive. You’ll have to rely on your instincts here in order to determine which approach is best for your safety, but if you suspect that a criminal may be inside of your home it is best to exit right away. Also, call other household members from outside the home to check on their whereabouts if you are uncertain.

 Immediately Call Law Enforcement

The moment that you realize your home has been burgled, call the authorities. While you’re probably thinking that this is a no-brainer, this needs to be made clear as some people may figure that the event is over and that they’ll call law enforcement after investigating the scene on their own. You are ill-advised to take this route, however, as it may be possible that someone is still inside the house or that a neighbor has called the police already, which may lead to you be mistaken for a criminal when officers do arrive.

Do Not Attempt to Clean or Straighten Your Home

Burglars have a tendency to leave a mess behind as they ransack a victim’s home. Upon walking into your house, you may immediately notice papers, books, furnishings and other items strewn about. As tempted as you may be to begin immediately restoring order, it is important to first let the authorities do a thorough inspection of the crime scene as it is.

Notify Your Neighbors

Thieves will sometimes hit multiple homes in a single area at the same time or within a few days of each crime. It is, therefore, a courteous idea to notify your neighbors of your misfortune so that they may increase their security vigilance and possibly avoid becoming victims themselves. Notifying your neighbors may also uncover information useful to your own investigation as neighbors may share having seen someone around your home just prior to your break-in. As we’ve stated in previous posts, criminals don’t always look suspicious, but will sometimes appear to be a teenager selling magazine subscriptions or an ordinary service man. Talking to neighbors might help jog someone’s memory about strangers in the area just prior to your event.

Assess Your Home’s Security

If you did not have a security system in place, don’t think that it’s too late to explore your options now. Considering that your home may have sustained some damage as a result of this incident in addition to the items that you may now need to replace, shelling out more money on a home security system may seem like an expense that you can’t afford right now. Truth be told, however, this event should highlight the fact that you can’t afford to put off investing in your home another day.

Fortunately, there are options beyond the expensive quotes provided to you by other vendors. Of course, we’re referring to do-it-yourself systems which include alarms, surveillance cameras, security lighting and a broad array of deterrents. Each of these can be secured at affordable prices and installing them is something that can be done without terrible difficulty. It will even please you to know that your system can also be monitored for less than nine dollars per month, which is a mere fraction of what some of the most popular names in home security will offer you. For more information, visit our main page or contact our customer service department today.

While you’ll likely feel somewhat uncomfortable at home for a while, know that your break-in was likely a one-time event. Knowing that a criminal has spent time exploring your private space can be unsettling, but in time this feeling will fade and you’ll eventually be able to relax again.

 What’s Your Story?

 Have you or someone you know recently experienced a break-in? Did you learn anything from this event that you wish you’d known sooner? What tips might you add to our list of things to do after a home has been burglarized? Home Security Store sincerely hopes that you do not have a story to share…but if you do, please take a moment to enlighten our readers on some of the lessons learned through your burglary experience.

 Ralph Winn

Live In a Nice Neighborhood? This Post is For You

Steve Jobs, LL Cool J and Paris Hilton– what do a deceased billionaire, a rapper turned actor and a socialite all have in common? Well, besides the fact that their homes are located in so-called nice neighborhoods, each one’s home was also broken into. LL Cool J even had to fight an intruder with his bare hands since a criminal broke into his home as his family was sleeping in the wee hours of the morning.

Live In a Nice Neighborhood?

This blog post is dedicated to everyone who believes they live in a nice neighborhood; to everyone with neighbors who look out for one another and, especially, to homeowners who feel that they are the least likely candidates for a break-in. A bury-your-head-in-the-sand mentality could very well be making you a target. Allow us to help you adjust your thinking before it’s too late.

Your Home Is a Perfect Candidate for Burglary

See, the truth of the matter is that you may live in precisely the type of neighborhood that a burglar prefers. Think about it, if you were a thief would you prefer breaking into a home in a nice, quiet neighborhood or a home in a run-down, noisy neighborhood, instead? Which do you think is most likely to be relaxed about security? Which is likely to have items you’d like to steal? Speaking for myself here, but if I were a burglar and I were risking my freedom by breaking into someone’s home, I’d much rather make it worth my while and break into a house where I’m likely to score items of value as opposed to one in an undesirable and, likely, low-income neighborhood.

A False Sense of Security

By now, you may be wondering if any of the celebrity homes mentioned at the top of this post were equipped with an alarm system. While, we’re sure they all were (at least we hope that they were), you should note that home security systems can’t work if they’re not properly armed. And, as may be the case with some of you reading this, a false sense of security sometimes accompanies home ownership in upper-income neighborhoods and many residents do not bother to turn their alarm systems on.

Getting back to our famous burglary cases here for a moment, let’s take a closer look at how each one could have been avoided. Hopefully, you’ll glean a few tips that you can apply at your home.

Security Mistakes at Steve Jobs’ Home

The Jobs’ burglary may have surprised many, but the details of the break-in were not at all unusual. While his home was being renovated and his widow was temporarily residing elsewhere, a down-on-his luck criminal was able to waltz right into the house. See, the thief got on the property’s fence by climbing scaffolding left behind by a work crew. Next, he managed to discover an unlocked garage that also contained a key to the billionaire’s home. With unfettered access, the burglar was able to take his time in leisurely sifting through Jobs’ personal effects before loading the billionaire’s luggage with jewelry, multiple computers and other digital devices, as well as a few household appliances. He even rambled through Jobs’ wallet and stole his state-issued identification!

Obviously, the security mistakes here are many. First, the alarm system, which hopefully included surveillance cameras and alarm monitoring, should have been armed. Second, a key to the home should never have been left on the premises and, third, someone should have made certain that renovation crews didn’t leave unattended equipment behind that would have tempted a burglar. At the very least, the scaffolding used to scale the home’s fence should not have been there.

Lessons From LL Cool J’s Break-In

In LL Cool J’s case– which is perhaps the most frightening of all since he and his family were at home and asleep at the time of the break-in– we learn a few things. Obviously, a monitored alarm system should have been in place and activated. Also, something that isn’t discussed too often in these conversations is that a house should be silent at night. LL Cool J, fortunately, was able to hear an intruder in his home and reacted quickly. People who sleep with a radio or television on, or even with the constant whir of a fan, may not have heard a sound in the middle of the night, however. Another thing the NCIS: Los Angeles actor may have benefitted from is a device like the Fake TV Burglary Deterrent Device, which gives the illusion of a television being on, but without sound which may interfere with a sleeper hearing things that go bump in the night.

What We Learned From Paris Hilton’s ‘Bling Ring’

For Paris Hilton, it appears that her home’s break-in was highly targeted. In fact, the criminals accused of burglarizing the heiress’ house were a part of a celebrity burglary ring who not only targeted Hilton, but also the homes of other celebrities including actors Orlando Bloom and Lindsay Lohan. Perhaps the most surprising of all, however, is that some of the gang’s members, including its female mastermind, came from affluent families.

What we learn here is that criminals come in all genders and from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds. Also, they are sometimes the people we least expect them to be. One of the women in what the media has named the “bling ring” was so tiny in physical stature that she was used to give the group access to one victim’s home because she was able to fit through the house’s pet door. Who would have ever expected such a petite woman of burglary?

Rethinking Security

So, the next time you try to justify your lack of home security by believing that you live in a safe area, think about each of these cases and the scores of other nice neighborhoods where break-ins have occurred. For your sake and for the security of your family, please face reality and opt for a complete home security system, instead. As experts report that home burglaries continue to rise throughout the country, you cannot afford to hold a low expectation of a burglary happening to you.

Tips to Prevent Auto-Theft This Summer

Here are a few tips to help you prevent becoming a victim of Auto-Theft this summer!

1) Hide your valuables. Smash-and-grab car burglars aren’t exactly criminal masterminds. Many simply act on impulse. So keep your valuable belongings with you, or out of sight. Car floors, dashboards and seats are not good places to leave items like purses, laptops, phones, etc.

2) Keep your car visible. The last thing thieves want is a crowd of onlookers to witness their crime. You can help prevent a burglary by parking your car in crowded areas, such as busy parking lots, well-lit areas, etc.

3) Make burglaries difficult. Smash-and-grab car burglars don’t want the complexity of a caper movie when stealing your iPod or cash. Every hurdle you can provide makes it more likely they’ll move on. Following this simple advice will give you an added layer of protection against car burglaries.

4) Don’t hand a car burglar your keys. Leaving your key on the dash or in the ignition is an invitation to a car burglar. And keep in mind that if you have a great hiding place for a spare key (in your wheel well or above your sun visor), a thief has thought of it, too.

5) Stow your belongings before you get there. Experienced thieves often stake out parking lots. Move valuable items, like shopping bags and laptops, to your trunk before you get to the parking lot.

6) Trust your instincts. If you see suspicious activity, find somewhere else to park. Don’t confront anyone: If you’re concerned, report your suspicions to an attendant or the police. By reporting suspicious activity to the proper authorities, you can help prevent others from becoming a victim of a car burglary or another crime.

Source: KHQ.COM

Home Alone Girl Acts Fast and Stops Burglary

In Oregon, 12 year-old Mackenzie Hughes could have panicked when a burglar entered the bedroom she was hiding in.  Instead, she stayed on the phone with emergency dispatchers and helped police catch the burglars.

“I heard a knock on my door and it was this … guy I’ve never seen in my life,” Hughes told NBC’s “Today” show.  “So I just sat there really, really quietly. And then he kept on pounding on the door, and all of the sudden I saw him try the knob.”

Mackenzie was home alone when she heard someone trying to break into her house.  But she knew what to do, AOL News reports.  Hughes called 911 and then ran into her bedroom to hide.

“There’s someone at my door!” she can be heard telling the dispatcher on the tape.

Then things got even scarier.  One of the burglars came into Hughes’ bedroom as she hid underneath a blanket on her bed.  Hughes said the man knew she was there.

“I could just feel him staring right at me.”

Although she was afraid, Hughes managed to stay on the phone with the dispatcher until police came to the scene.  The dispatcher tried to keep the girl calm and quiet.

“He’s in my room,” Mackenzie told the dispatcher.

“OK, be quiet.  OK, don’t talk to me.  Just don’t talk,” the dispatcher advised Mackenzie.  “Take deep breaths, think of something fun.”

Finally, the police arrived and the three men were apprehended before they could get away.

80-Year-Old Woman Gets 3 Years

An 80-year-old woman who has a criminal record dating back to 1955 was sentenced to 3 years in state prison for breaking into a Southern California  medical office and stealing money from drawers.

Doris Thompson agreed that she deserved a long sentence thanked the judge for not sending her to the Los Angeles County Jail, which she says she doesn’t like.  She said “God Bless You” to the judge as the hearing came to a close.

She will have to pay $1,400 in restitution and is eligible for parole in 18 months.

Source: New York Times

Police Catch Gumball Bandit

A Memphis man in desperate need of quarters blew any chance of getting into heaven when he decided to steal money from a gumball machine at the city’s United Cerebral Palsy Center.

The 29-year-old thief set off the alarm during the burglary, and police caught him just a couple blocks from the center.  The noticeable bulge in his left pocket housed a fortune of 90 whole quarters, or $22.50.

He is being charged with burglary and theft of property.

Source: Commercial Appeal

Up to 42 Years in Prison for Identity Thief

31-year-old Brandy Lynn McKinley from Dayton, Nevada was released from prison in 2008 on fraud felonies, and now she’s going straight back as she was sentenced to up to 42 years in prison on Wednesday by a judge who sentenced her on five felony fraud counts ranging from burglary, uttering a forged instrument and identity theft.  She pleaded guilty.

The case was so intricate that even the U.S. Secret Service became involved in the investigation, which found that McKinley operated her own financial forgery lab where she created fake checks (using special computer software), personal documents, and I.D. Cards.

Some of her more complex forgeries came in the form of payroll checks in the name of Renown Regional Medical Center.

Although McKinley’s is an extreme case, it should serve as a lesson that Identity Theft can carry with it some serious consequences!

Source: RGJ.com

Burglar Accidentally Cuffed and Tased Himself

Lake County authorities in Florida say they have a serial car burglar in custody, but not one that is too smart.  Apparently Shane Thomas Williams-Allen of Orlando shocked himself with a Taser and put himself in handcuffs.

Here’s what happened.  After a police car was broken into, police got a tip that Williams-Allen might be involved.  That’s when they went looking for him, but found some of his friends instead.  According to arrest reports, the friends told investigators that Williams-Allen accidentally locked himself up last week with handcuffs that he had stolen and had to call the police to set him free.

Fast forward to when authorities finally caught up with Williams-Allen.  The suspect cooperated, but in return asked to be taken through a McDonald’s drive-thru because he was hungry.  That’s when Williams-Allen fessed up to breaking into at least one unmarked cop car.  He told investigators that he went to Clermont after getting into a fight with his parents and was supposed to meet someone he knew about work.  He then saw a light on in a car and entered the vehicle.  Inside, he found a police gun belt and he removed the Taser, according to the report.  “The suspect stated he removed the Taser and it discharged, hitting the floor and causing his foot to get shocked.” 

Williams-Allen was arrested on multiple burglary and grand-theft counts and may be responsible for as many as nine car burglaries. 

Source – Orlando Sentinel

Cop Dog Choked by Burglary Suspect

K9 DogA 17-year old suspect in a Houston-area home burglary has confessed to choking to death a police dog who was chasing him, FOX 26 in Houston reported.

Harris County deputies sent K-9 teams into a wooded area in search of two of the three burglary suspects, but one of the dogs – a five year old German shepherd mix named Blek – never came back and was later found dead.  Deputies found the two suspects in the woods.  That’s when one suspect, Cornelius Harrell, confessed to fatally choking the dog with his bare hands.   

“We do know now that Blek did catch up with the suspects as they were going over a fence.  He proceeded to detain one of them or attempted to detain one of them and the other one jumped up behind him and choked him to death,” said Captain Wally Wieghat of the Harris County Sheriff’s Department.

Blek was a 4 year-old German shepherd.  When word of Blek’s death reached the dog’s handler, Reginald Dahlin, the devoted officer broke down in tears.

“He worked with the dog forty hours a week, went home with him.  It is just like losing your child.  He took it extremely hard, as we all did out on the scene,” Weighat added.

Cornelius Harrel and his underage brother (second suspect) will be held accountable for killing Blek and are being charged with a felony of interference with a police service animal.  A third suspect was found in a car trying to get away.

Online banking security under scrutiny after teen defrauds Aussie bank of $2 million

onlinebankingThe effectiveness of online banking security is coming into question this week after Philip Heggie, an 18-year-old business student at the University of Queensland in Australia, managed to transfer $2 million dollars into his personal account from an internal account held by the country’s biggest banking corporation, Suncorp.

The teen, who allegedly opened his personal account using the false name of Shane Seato, was arrested after attempting to withdraw $5,000 cash, which the teller found suspicious.  A text message sent by Heggie around the time of the withdraw appears to have promised friends that the drinks were “on [him] tonight.”

Perhaps the most embarrassing part of the ordeal is that just two days before the teen’s arrest, Suncorp general manager Terry Wasmund praised the bank’s online banking scheme, which recently won an award for Best Australian-based Transactional Web and Mobile Service.

The bank plans to review and rework its system to prevent this type of thing from happening again.

Ultimately, the bank can probably thank their responsible (and most likely underpaid) teller for preventing what millions of dollars in internet security apparently could not. 

 

 

Source: FoxNews.com