New Jersey “Career Burglar” Nabbed –
Lessons & Takeaways
A man who authorities have deemed a “career burglar” was arrested in Monmouth County, NJ last December. The facts are as follows: according to The Asbury Park Press, a 54-year-old man was charged with burglary, theft, receiving stolen property, criminal mischief, shoplifting and unlawful taking means of conveyance after a seven-month multi-agency investigation.
Authorities first began investigating the burglar as a “person of interest” after two reported burglaries happened in May, 2015 on the same street, according to Holmdel police Lt. Keith Cannata. While these crimes were unfortunate, there are some important things to take away from the case, especially for homeowners. According to Shrewsbury Police Detective Sgt. James Ramsey, one of the burglar’s most frequently utilized tactics when attempting to gain entrance into a home was to keep dog treats in his pockets to distract pets while he searched through homes. Typically, it’s these types of unconventional tactics that enable burglars to be successful at their crimes….and there are always lessons to be learned when one of these kinds of thieves is caught. We’ve gleaned some lessons and takeaways from this saga; hopefully they’ll help to protect your property from the next “career burglar” who may be targeting your home.
Dogs were a large part of the career burglar’s strategy when deciding which houses to burglarize. As stated above, he would always have dog treats on his person, which he used to distract dogs once he broke into a home. However, he also relied on dogs in another way. In a video recorded by the Asbury Park Press, Detective Sgt. Ramsey said, “If a dog was barking and no one was telling the dog to be quiet, (the burglar) knew that no one was home.” It’s the little things like this that the average homeowner wouldn’t think about that can lead to vulnerability for a homeowner.
The “career burglar” was known for not only stealing cars, but packing a homeowner’s car with all the possessions he wanted to steal and making off with the car and everything else. According to police, he would do this by parking his own vehicle about a mile away from the house he had targeted. He would then walk to the property, break into the home, locate the spare keys to the car and commence to ransack the house and fill the vehicle with items. In another rare glimpse into the mind of a burglar, we learn that it is not safe to keep spare car keys in visible or easy to locate places. In the very least, one should store spare keys in a trustworthy, secret space in order to ensure that the vehicle is not stolen.As highlighted in a past blog post, one of the worst mistakes to make as a homeowner is to leave car keys in a vehicle overnight. The convenience is simply not worth the risk.
Around $1 million in possessions were stolen by this burglar in a string of robberies dating all the way back to 1991. Many of the items stolen were luxury items like jewelry, furs, cash, high-end electronics as well as rare items like a lighter autographed by Bob Hope and rare vintage bottles of Scotch. While it is nice to have these types of things on display in a home, if there is something a homeowner has that is highly valuable, if it is something that is not replaceable with the insurance payout, it would be smarter to store it in a safe. The simple fact is the harder one makes it for a burglar to gain access to something, the less likely it is to be stolen. Many of the items stolen were left out in the open or inside of an easily accessible jewelry cabinet.
Report Suspicious Activity
As the police stated in the video posted above, no one knows your neighborhood better than you do. It’s always worth it to report suspicious activity, such as an unfamiliar looking man roaming a neighborhood. Even if it proves not to be an issue, the prospect of preventing a crime in one’s own neighborhood should be incentive enough to alert local authorities.
As a homeowner, it’s very dangerous to have the “it would never happen to me” mindset. While that is a harsh reality, there are steps that can be taken to prevent break-ins and crime. According to the Electronic Security Association (ESA), homes without alarm systems are three times more likely to be burglarized than those without an alarm system.
The ESA also reports that 74% of uncompleted intrusions can be credited to an audible home alarm system. The numbers say that a home security system is an investment that will not only provide peace of mind, but pay for itself in the long run. While burglaries of this magnitude are unfortunate, they allow homeowners a glimpse into the mind of a burglar and give valuable home security information to the masses.