Posts Tagged home burglary

Please Rob Me, I just left my house…

Posted by Rob on Thursday, 18 February, 2010

I have most of the major social networking pages somewhere, not that I still use all of them. I have still, or have in the past used MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Buzz, Digg, Technorati and probably a bunch more if I felt like checking all of my internet book marks.

To tell you the truth, it takes up way too much time trying to “stay connected”. But there are even apps that tie 2 or more of these sites together, which I suppose makes keeping up with friends, followers, and stalkers much easier. That way you can tweet a message and it automatically posts to your Facebook. Or you can status your Facebook and it will tweet it too. Hopefully you don’t have it set up to FB to Twitter that tweets back to FB which goes back to Twitter in an endless loop of insignificant social babble…

One of the latest Facebook/Twitter fads is called geolocation. Which is when you can download an app to your smart phone that grabs your precise physical location and tweet or status that spot to all of your friends. I have a Facebook buddy that does this all the time. He is always letting us know what restaurant he is waiting in line at, or other event he is hobnobbing around.

A while back, when he first started doing that, I thought, “Hrrm, “Ted” isn’t at home and he just told the world… and if you wait an hour or two, he’ll probably let you know when he is heading back.” Sure enough he did. Perfect time to rob his house, if you were into that sort of thing.

Usually your Facebook account is only full of your nearest and dearest friends, not 100s of casual acquaintances, and people you hardly know but sent to a friend request, right? …RIGHT?

What about those college kids that friend everyone on campus? Probably not the best course of action. You know how those mature co-eds act.

How likely would it be for some loser college “friend” to ransack your dorm room when they just saw your tweet that you and your roommate just took off for the long weekend?

Worse yet, leave it to some techno-nerd to one up the whole geolocation snooping. There is actually a website called Please Rob Me dot com. This site will filter out all the “I’m taking a shower” and motivational quote spam on Twitter and just get down to the nitty gritty. It takes all the real-time geolocationing info and displays them in a one-stop-shop list. Here is a snippet of the results from last night:

Listing all those empty homes out there

Recent Empty Homes

@HolzJS left home and checked in about a minute ago: I’m at Celebration Town Tavern (721 Front Street, Sycamore Street, Celebration). http://4sq.com/8BCs0A

@amisij left home and checked in about a minute ago: I’m at Kirkhof Center (GVSU, Allendale) w/ 2 others. http://4sq.com/6Xvr8B

@jacobkampen left home and checked in about a minute ago: Woot! #fb (@ Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) w/ 2 others) http://4sq.com/31ZCjK

@argonman left home and checked in about a minute ago: I’m at Edwards movie theater. http://4sq.com/bHeIQr

And of course there is a search box if you have a specific target in mind, perfect for selecting a burglary target, or narrowing down your night’s stalking route.

From their home page, you can click on the WHY link and get their reasoning for creating this site, which states their goal is to raise some awareness on the potentially dangerous issue of willy nilly geolocation spamming and have people think twice about how they use those services like Foursquare, Brightkite, Google Buzz etc.

The danger is when you get in the habit of publicly telling strangers where you are, and consequently where you are not… which is at home. “So here we are; on one end we’re leaving lights on when we’re going on a holiday, and on the other we’re telling everybody on the internet we’re not home.”

They also state their “intention is not, and never has been, to have people burglarized.” But it should make you wonder. Who is keeping tabs on you, especially when you are so freely giving out boatloads of personal information, intentionally or unintentionally.

Take a piece here, take a tweet there, read a couple social profiles, and then use Google. You’d be surprised how much info you can find on someone. I hope you have some sort of home security or a dog (real or fake) keeping an eye on things at the homstead.

I’m just waiting on the following:

@geotweeter is at the new restaurant, long wait to be seated, I may be here awhile.

@geoburglar is at @geotweeter’s house. Wonder if he’ll get back in time before I clean it out…

Be Safe, Be Prepared. Keep your geo tweets to yourself.

Related Posts:
Infidelity and Facebook Cheating
Burglar Smacked Silly with a Shovel
Another burglar drops his cell phone
Home Ransacked After Fake Craigslist Ad

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Cheap Electronics, Good for Consumers, Bad for Burglars

Posted by Rob on Wednesday, 10 February, 2010

British crime research has recently reported that the influx of cheap electronic goods coming out of Asian countries may have affected the criminal standard operation procedures.

James Treadwell, a University of Leicester criminology lecturer explains that while a profit could be easily turned in the 1980s and 90s, cheap labor in China and Taiwan has made traditional home burglary less profitable today.

“Gradually, the prices of such goods has fallen so low as to they almost have no resale value. If you can buy a DVD player for 19.99 pounds ($32 US), it’s simply not worth stealing,” says Treadwell.

A British crime survey has reported a decline in domestic burglary over the past decade during a public interview. These numbers were applauded by the labor government, citing a crackdown on crime must have been successful.

However, there has been an increase in personal robbery and muggings. Treadwell attributes this to an effective “career change” by criminals.

Instead of breaking into homes, these crooks are now simply targeting smaller but pricier items such as iPods, cell phones, and other expensive gadgets that people commonly carry around with them.

This makes sense. Have you ever looked at the actual price of those fancy new smartphones? Sure you are getting a deal when you sign up for new service and get a free phone. Or when you upgrade to a new 2 year cellular agreement and are only charged $150 for the phone, but look at the actual retail price without all the discounts. Those are $400-600 phones. The 64GB iPod touch runs $399.

“It is these expensive, personal items, which are the most attractive to thieves today as they still retain value and can therefore be sold on, igniting a career change for criminals from the more traditional household burglaries to personal muggings,” says Treadwell.

It even appears that dogs are not immune to crime either. I just read a report about a terrier in Brooklyn who was mugged. Apparently the owner tied the pooch up outside of a supermarket, while she ran inside to grab a gallon of milk.

A few short minutes later, the woman exited the store to find her shivering little doggie missing his $25 leather trimmed, green wool coat and belt.

“How could anyone steal a coat off someone’s back in the freezing cold?” the 42-year-old owner reported to the local paper. “I was so angry, but in the end I was grateful that it was just the coat and not him.”

So in the case of the dog, he just got screwed by his owner. Thanks for leaving me unattended.

But you have a choice, and you have several self-defense options. On the cheap, for under $10 you can arm yourself with a key chain pepper spray. For under $60, you can get your hands on Stun Master Multi-Function Rechargeable Stun Gun. If safety is a higher concern than the price tag, you can always go the Vanessa Hudgens route and get yourself a C2 TASER. As I’ve said before, Your Life is Worth more to us than the Cost of a TASER Device. And it won’t even be the most expensive gadget in your pocket.

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

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Boston Defenders 1, Colorado Burglars 0

Posted by Rob on Thursday, 7 January, 2010

I love stories like the first one here.

Earlier this week a knife-wielding thug attempted to steal the purse of a South Boston woman just before noon at the intersection of Dorchester and Telegraph Street.

“Give me your purse,” the suspect said.

How about some pepper spray instead? The woman whipped out a canister of OC pepper spray and lets the thug have it in the face.

He dropped his knife and took off purse-less, but the woman was able to ID the guy and he now has a warrant out for arrest.

This next story, I’m not quite sure what to think.

So, this loser in Colorado breaks into the home of his buddy’s ex-wife…

Unfortunately for the suspect, the woman was in the house baby-sitting the burglar’s children. Even with the bandana on his face, the kids recognize dear old dad… Talk about awkward!

Local Authorities arrested him on suspicion of second-degree burglary and other charges. Suspicion of? Are you kidding, his children caught him.

Kinda like those old Scooby Doo episodes when the bad guy gets foiled and says “I would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for those dang meddling kids…”

Not that we are keeping track, but score 1 for the pepper spray savvy woman is Boston, 0 for the scumbag burglar in Colorado.

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

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Ronald McDonald Look-alike Charged with Robbery

Posted by Rob on Thursday, 18 June, 2009

Let’s not be too obvious here. But if your hair is dyed fire-engine red, wear a hat when robbing a home…

Peekskill police report a burglar in his home awakened a resident on Tuesday. The burglar made off with some computer equipment and a camera, but while exiting the premises, the victim caught a glimpse of the burglar’s extremely unique locks.

The description the victim gave, to include the flame red hair, was given to local and neighboring police departments. I mean, how many perps can be walking around in partial clown gear?

The suspect was spotted several hours later getting off a bus near his home in Ossining, NY. Ossining authorities immediately recognized the man from the description sent out by the Peekskill police and caught “Red Hair-ed”.

Ronald McDonald (aka 21-year-old Eduardo Lazcano) was arrested and charged with burglary and grand larceny.

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

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Burglar Smacked Silly with a Shovel

Posted by Rob on Monday, 1 June, 2009

Apparently this guy picked the wrong mobile home to mess with.

A 31-year-old woman in Lake Placid, Florida returned home around 9:30 PM to find an unfamiliar bicycle in her front yard. On further inspection, she also heard footsteps in her mobile home.

Since her home had been burglarized in the past, she left to get a male cousin to help here investigate. Armed with a shovel, they found many of her belongings ransacked throughout the home. When they entered the master bedroom and turned on the lights, the 22-year-old burglar was spotted attempting to hide in the closet.

The woman clocked the burglar upside his head with the shovel and her cousin wrestled him to the ground. While subdued, the woman called the police.

Authorities reported the burglar had “considerable difficulty standing and appeared to be slipping in and out of consciousness” after being handcuffed and led the patrol car.

The would-be burglar was taken to a local hospital and checked out, but was unable to give a “cognizant statement” to the police due to the trauma he received at the hands of the home owner that evening.

They booked him on an unarmed burglary of an occupied dwelling charge and coincidentally he had just gotten out of jail a few weeks ago on a charge of first-degree arson of an occupied building. He also has a lengthy arrest record.

“It worked out, but that wasn’t the safest course of action,” says one of the local authorities. “When she saw the bicycle, she should have called us and we could have gone inside for her.”

Kind of reminds me of the Man Steals Burglars’ Getaway Van story from February. She should have taken the burglar’s bike and hid it somewhere. Dude, Where’s my bike?

Be Safe, Be Prepared. Check out some of our Home Protection options, you never know when your shovel won’t be readily available.

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Intruder Whacked in the Head with a Sauce Pan

Posted by Rob on Friday, 27 February, 2009

The 70-year-old wife of an Elyria, Ohio judge was so angry at the intruders who tried to rob her, that she whacked one of them in the head with a pot. BAM!

Four boys pushed their way into her home while Ellen Basinski was on the phone with her husband, this past Tuesday.

The husband David Basinski, a Lorain County Judge overheard the comotion and rushed home. His wife grabbed her favorite “Emeril Lagasse” 5-quart sauce pan in an attempt to defend herself against the teenagers rifling through her purse and cabinets, and ended up smacking one of them upside the head.

One of the teens threw a bottle of whiskey towards Mrs. Basinski to distract her so one of the other boys could flee. They all ran from the scene but were later apprehended and charged with aggravated burglary.

The judge said his wife was rather upset that police had to take her pan as evidence. No sauce tonight!

To kick this story up another notch, it was later reported that Chef Emeril Lagasse heard of the incident and felt so bad that the woman lost one of his trademark pans while warding off home intruders that he’s sending her a whole new set of his signature cookware.


Double BAM!

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Another burglar drops his cell phone

Posted by Rob on Monday, 23 February, 2009

Similar to the other Lost Cell Phone story, this one out of New Castle, Delaware is also pretty funny.

Apparently we have this guy who breaks into this house.

The homeowner hears someone opening his basement door and is startled when a unknown guy walks into his den. The victim who was sitting on his couch, jumps up and starts yelling at the intruder.

The guy takes off through the house and escapes out the front door.

Can you guess what happened next?

Well the guy ended up dropping his cell phone in the victim’s front yard. Way to go buddy.

So the homeowner calls the police, who arrive to take the report. While the cops are looking around, the victim finds the cell phone on the ground and hands it over to the police.

Right there we are pretty good and should have no problem finding this guy. But, it gets better…

With the cell phone in the hands of the investigator, it starts to ring. And whose name do you suppose comes up on the display? Mom.

Of course the police answer and talk to the would-be burglar’s Mother, who confirms the identity of her son.

The police later found the 33-year-old guy walking along the highway. He was taken into custody without incident and charged with burglary related offenses.

So, if you have been following our burglary tips from the past few days, pull up your pants so you don’t trip or get a wedgie, don’t leave your getaway van running with the keys inside, eat the whole doughnut and leave the cell phone at home.

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

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Man Steals Burglars’ Getaway Van

Posted by Rob on Sunday, 15 February, 2009

A recently laid off WaMu employee happened to be at home when a pair of burglars broke into his house. His wife was working, his son was in daycare and he was in the basement.

Just after 1:30 PM, while doing some work around the house, Patrick Rosario thought he heard a knock at his front door. Before he could respond, he then heard a loud noise. He quietly walked up the stairs and was able to peek out of the cellar door, which was cracked open about an inch.

He saw an unknown person walking around and heard the noises of at least another person going through the house collecting his valuables.

Rosario had a cell phone on him, and immediately called 911. He was able to sneak out the backdoor undetected, and arm himself with a hammer before he made it to the front of his house. Hiding behind his garbage can, Rosario was able to peek around the corner and see what was going on. He still had the 911 dispatcher on the phone.

Apparently, while the burglars were busy going through the home, they left their Ford Windstar van running out front. Assuming the burglars expected a quick getaway, Rosario hopped in the van through the unlocked door, and drove away.

He figured the guys ransacking his home would be too busy to notice, and even if they did, they would not be able to catch him on foot. He drove to a friend’s house a few block and waited for the police.

“I kept a pretty cool head,” Rosario said. “You never know how you’re going to react until you’re in that situation.”

Back at the house, a witness across the street later reported that two men exiting the house “looked back… and appeared startled.”

Dude, Where’s my Van?

“I wish I could have seen the look on their faces,” Rosario said.

The two burglars fled the scene and left a couple of flat-screen TVs, game consoles, laptop and a jewelry box by the front door.

Some of the responding officers were quite amused at the details of this attempted burglary. “Two pulled up, and they looked over at me and go, ‘You stole their car — way to go, dude. That’s awesome.’ Another told me that I just made her month.” says Rosario.

Rosario acted against the 911 dispatcher’s advice, and local authorities wouldn’t officially comment if Rosario’s actions were advisable. “We expect responsible adults to make their own decisions,” he said. “Clearly, this worked in this case, but in another case it might not have.”

Even Rosario realized the events could have unfolded differently. If the break in occurred at the same time a day earlier, he would have been napping in the bedroom with his 2-year-old son. “I would have been trapped in my bedroom,” he said.

Rosario has already replaced his front door with a more secure door, purchased some pepper spray and had a “robust” alarm system installed.

Luckily things worked out for Patrick this time, but now if anything happens again, he is better prepared.

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

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Never leave your wallet in another man’s pants.

Posted by Rob on Thursday, 29 January, 2009

An uninvited tenant has been making the rounds between unattended vacation homes in the North Webster, Indiana area. Apparently, this guy would scope out Webster Lake residences, and if the house looked unoccupied and didn’t have recent tracks in the snow, he figured no one would be around.

So this guy would effectively “move in” for a spell, eat some of the food left behind, drink some beer, wear some of the homeowner’s clothes and sleep in the beds… Eventually he would rotate to another similarly unoccupied vacation home, once he grew bored, ran out of food, or otherwise felt the house no longer suited him.

Of course, besides having his way with the contents of the house, he would steal some items when leaving. It wasn’t reported how much porridge was missing or if any chairs were broken, but it is assumed at least some of the beds ended up being just right.

He ended up being noticed when the owner of a previously visited home found the guy’s wallet in a pair of the homeowner’s overalls left at the house. The police were able to follow some fresh tracks in the snow to another house, where Goldilocks was now camping out and apprehended the guy.

So basically, while lounging around in someone else’s house, in someone else’s clothes this guy forgot to take his wallet out of the other guys pants when he took them off and left. He must have forgotten which house and whose pants he was in the last time he remembered having his wallet… And that is how he got caught.

So far, the police can account for a few homes that were broken into, but until other homeowners return when the weather warms up, they may not know for sure how many more places were targeted during the spree.

The 31-year-old guy is being charged with a preliminary count of 4 burglaries and police are attempting to recover the stolen items.

“I’ve been on 19 years and I’ve never seen anybody actually moving in and living in somebody’s residence like that,” says an officer from the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department. “He was just kinda running the gamut around the edges of the lake.”

Often times crime happens when no one is around to notice, and the creep is long gone by the time anyone does. Now, you can protect your home, vacation house or office with the Auto Dialer Security and Safety Alarm.

The Auto Dialer has a unique passive infrared system that monitors any motion in an area you select. When the unit is ARMED, the motion detector watches the protected area. If movement is detected, a 105db security alarm will sound and the Auto Dialer will call up to 5 preset telephone numbers selected by you. The Auto Dialer can also be used in Chime mode, such as in a store, where a chime will alert you when motion is detected.

The Auto Dialer Security and Safety Alarm is easy to set-up. Install a 9 volt battery, connect the AC adaptor ,plug in a standard telephone line and mount it to the wall. As long as you have an active phone line, you can have your vacation residence monitor itself and give you a call if anything funny is going on.

It never hurts to secure, and for less than $40, you can’t go wrong. Goldilocks be warned, these bears mean business!

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Inside the Criminal Mind: Home Burglary

Posted by Rob on Wednesday, 23 May, 2007

It does not matter where you live. Middle-class suburbs,
high-class condos, low-income housing, your home is a
target. A burglar with his mind set on your house will walk
through your front door, crawl through a window or even
smash a sledge hammer through your roof.

I recently came across an interview of a reformed burglar
who was extremely prolific in his day, breaking into about
60 homes with a grand total of tens of thousands of dollars
of jewelry and electronics. Of course, he has now vowed to
lead a more law-abiding lifestyle. Probably due to the fact
he is serving house arrest and will say anything. Speaking
of saying anything, he also decided to spill the beans on
tactics and secrets of the trade of burglarizing homes.

The burglars already know, but this knowledge may be of
great benefit to a clueless homeowner.

The following are some of the highlights from inside the
mind of a criminal:

Point of Entry:

Windows – French windows, roll outs, weak metal frames (many
times the windows can be put back in or reclosed once
burglar has entered, leaving homeowners to wonder how their
home was broken into)

Roof – Apparently a sledge hammer through the back of the
roof is an increasingly common point of entry. Who’d have
thought?

Front Door – Popped hinges, weak wooden frame or an unlocked
door (come on, let’s not make it that easy!)

Alarm Systems:

No Problem – Cut the phone line on the side of the house.
Contact to the alarm company is now snipped…

Surveillance Systems:

Time Consuming – Not often worth the trouble, unless main
power shutoff is available…

Time of Crime:

Broad daylight, between noon and three, in and out within a
half-hour. Weekends were not desirable.

Prep Work:

Neighborhood scoped out for about a week – who lives there,
how many people, notable routine, kids or pets, married or
single…

Usually wears a worker’s outfit… Handy man, Meter Reader,
Utility Company. You’d be surprised what is available at the
Goodwill shops.

Target:

Jewelry, Electronics, Money

With a burglary occurring on average every 15 seconds, it
would be foolish to leave your home attractive to those
creeps looking for an easy buck. Curb appeal is fine. Plant
pretty flowers, paint your fence, mow your lawn. But
Burglar Appeal is best left off your to do list.

For a list of Home Protection tips when you are going on
vacation check out:

Vacation Safety Tips

For a selection of Security Products that might interest you
in providing an additional layer of protection for your home
and belongings check out:

Home Alarm and Protection Products
Telespy Telephone Alert
Diversion Safes
Surveillance Systems, Cameras, and Nanny Cams

It would be nice to believe that nothing will happen to you,
but the reality of it is that an ounce of protection could
be worth more than a pound of cure. What is Worth Protection
to you? Your belongings? Your family? Your personal
well-being?

Stay safe and be prepared!

Yours in Safety,
Rob

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