Burglaries in the Kirkland Highlands Neighborhood

There have been two home burglaries in the Highlands in the past two weeks and several apparent attempted break-ins. All of these crimes have taken place in mid-afternoon. In addition, a car was stolen Monday night On June 17, neighbors saw a Caucasian man in his mid thirties, wearing jeans, a white shirt and a baseball cap, walk up to a front door and knock. When he didn't get an answer he went around the back of the house and used a crowbar to pry open the door into the garage. He stole jewelry, computers, other electronics, and tools. A dog was in the house at the time, and usually barks when someone knocks, so the thief was not deterred by that.

This past Monday there was another burglary. Here is a poignant message from yesterday's burglary victim:

"They stole all our jewelry, our guitars, my passport, a camera, a laptop and other small valuable stuff. It appears they also took blank checks and maybe some credit cards, so identity theft is a real risk. The house was totally locked up, but the alarm system was not armed. They gained access by prying a locked window open on the front of our house; they simply pried until they broke the latch and then opened the window and climbed right in. Virtually every drawer in the house was opened, and the contents were strewn everywhere, just like in the movies. We’re still in the midst of figuring out what’s missing, and putting things back together. I just wanted you all to know about this and urge you to take extra precautions at your house.

Despite all the messages we’ve received recently regarding home burglaries, mail theft, etc., right here in our neighborhood, we, perhaps like most of you, felt we were taking adequate precautions, and were fairly confident that it would never happen to us. Well, we were wrong, and now we’ve got to deal with the realities of our home being invaded and many precious, irreplaceable things being gone forever. Now that the horse has left the barn, we’re naturally thinking about all the security procedures we should follow going forward. I’m hoping some of you will see this message and feel how close to home this incident was, and take some preventative action before it happens to you."

On the same day, a man was observed sneaking into a backyard and took off when confronted. The next day, someone found both of their gates wide open, and they were certain the gates had been closed when they'd left the house 45 minutes before. They think their barking dogs may have deterred a would-be thief. Another neighbor reported finding muddy footprints on their back porch. Several people have reported seeing unknown young men wearing backpacks wandering on dead end streets.

The moral of the story? There are several:

If you or your child are home and someone knocks, be sure to at least acknowledge that you are there. If you don't want to open the door, you can call out "Who is it? I can't come to the door right now." If a burglar knocks and gets no answer, they will assume that no one is home, and they may break in with you there.

Take steps to make your home less attractive to burglars. If you Google on "burglary prevention tips" you will find many links with good information. Here is one: www.burglaryprevention.org.

If you see anything suspicious in your neighborhood, don't wait - call 911!