San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department has been investigating residential burglaries in which the front door has been kicked in. Residents are arriving home, finding the front door kicked in and valuables taken.
During the course of their investigation, detectives have learned that the suspects will approach houses in a neighborhood they believe to be unoccupied. One will go to the door and knock. When no one answers, they will give the door a swift, hard kick and force it open.
The rest of the crew will then enter the residence and fan out. They will take flat screen televisions, laptop computers, IPads, IPods, Playstations, Wii games and jewelry. They will be in and out of the house within a short time.
It’s not uncommon for these crews to use a juvenile to approach the residence. The rest of the crew, consisting of a parolee or other adults, will be hiding nearby. If someone answers the door, the juvenile crew member will ask for a person by name, who obviously doesn’t live there. When the homeowner states there is no one there by that name, the juvenile will simply leave and go to the next house. They will continue in this manner until the door goes unanswered. And they will then enter that house the same way.
This has been the case recently in the city of Loma Linda. Detective Kenny Green, who has been investigating similar residential burglaries in the city, offers the following advice to homeowners:
Once they leave, look out the window and see if you can get a vehicle description and license plate number. Chances are a house will be hit in the neighborhood and you may be able to provide investigators with valuable information.
Beware of utility workers wanting to look at the electrical panel or other such device when you haven’t made a service call. In recent scams there will be two workers posing as utility workers; one to distract the homeowner while the other goes into back rooms looking for valuables. Rarely will utility workers come to your house “just to check things out”. You can ask them to wait outside while you call the utility company to verify their presence. Or you can tell them this isn’t a good time and you will call to reschedule.
Join a Neighborhood Watch Program. This popular crime prevention program is an effective way to deter criminal activity in your neighborhood. Contact your local law enforcement agency for more information on starting a Neighborhood Watch Program in your area.
“But most importantly, we must all be aware of what is going on in our neighborhoods and stay alert to suspicious activity,” Detective Green adds. “Keeping a notepad handy by the front window or telephone is a great tool for jotting down notes whenever something just doesn’t seem right.”
Public Affairs Division