Cat Burglar Strikes Home Across from Hummingbird Park

Burglaries happen everyday in this city, and unfortunately, one happened in our neighborhood early yesterday morning.

At about 3 AM, numerous valuable items were stolen from a garage across from Hummingbird Park on Chateau Montelena Way while residents slept. The thief (or thieves) apparently entered an unlocked side gate and gain entry to the garage via the unlocked door on the side of the house. It is believed the person(s) had a vehicle because the number and weight of the items would have required one. The main garage door was disengaged from the garage door opener and gently opened by hand. Actually, one resident was awakened but mistakenly assumed the noise was from a cat.

A number of factors in this case led to some lessons in home security that we all can learn from:

  • It was trash night, and this homeowner had not been locking his side gate on trash night to make it easier to retrieve the containers the following morning.

  • The side door is usually locked, but that was forgotten in the rush of things.

  • The noise heard by one of the residents was quickly dismissed as "just the cat." (Living with five of them myself, I can certainly relate to that one!)

Here are a few tips to make your home a harder target for thieves:

  • Lighten up! Turn those exterior lights on. Criminals hate being seen! When you turn your lights off at night to save a few cents of electricity, you create an environment that criminals are comfortable working in. There are some great low-tech products available at home improvement stores to make your lights go on and off automatically and save energy. No more excuses! No more darkened exteriors! And please encourage your neighbors to do the same.

  • Don't leave your garage door open longer than necessary. An open garage door is like a window display of all the stuff you have available to steal. If a criminal walks or drives by while your door is open, even if you're standing by, he could be making a mental note: "Tools. Bikes. Refrigerator? Could be beer in there."

  • Keep your side yard gate locked. Yeah, I know -- it's a pain having to fumble around with a lock every time you go through. Plus, if you approach the gate from the side without the lock being accessible, it's an even bigger pain. That's why when I rebuilt my gate I used a Dura-LatchTM so that it's always latched, always locked with a key (because I make it so), and always unlockable from either side of the gate (see details below).

  • Don't ignore suspicious sounds. Bump in the night? It could be a cat, or could be a cat burglar! Car alarm at 2 AM? It could be a false alarm, or could a car thief or a smash-and-grabber like the one our neighborhood had on Christmas morning. Trust your instincts, but maybe hone your instincts a little towards towards suspicion. Even if you can't stop a crime in progress, a quick call to police with a good description could be the key to bringing the bad guy to justice and the victim his stuff back.

  • Keep the door between your garage and home locked at all times, especially when you are home.

If you have any information that may be of assistance to Sacramento Police Department on this week’s burglary, please email me and call their non-emergency dispatch line at 916-264-5471.

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