Burglaries in Arizona

A rash of burglaries in Arizona City communities highlights the importance of watchful residences as well as secure homes. Throughout the summer months and now into the fall season, there’s been an average of nineteen home burglaries each month reported in Pinal County. Police believe even more robberies have occurred during this period than yet reported, as out of state winter residents not yet in the area may also have experienced burglaries.

The community’s Citizens On Patrol neighborhood watch unit, and the Pinal County Sheriff’s office Arizona City substations are aware of a substantial rise in home invasions and burglaries over the past two years, but have been unable to put a stop to the high incidence of theft and trespassing. Theories have been raised that an actual theft ring is operating, but evidence of such a group is scant.

The thieves appear particularly bold in going after homes located in a residential area directly on a busy golf course in broad day light. A recent such break-in occurred around three o’clock in the afternoon, when the perpetrators backed a vehicle into the home’s garage after gaining access to this area. Once in the garage, they took their time entering and pillaging the home, taking everything from a combination safe weighing over a hundred pounds to electronics, decorative items and jewelry, and in one bizarre twist, a wooden box containing the ashes of a deceased family member. The thieves appeared to have some familiarity with the home, as the safe, hidden from view, was targeted. Apparently, the thieves had entered previously as relatively inconspicuous signs of forced entry were noted.

Having evidence of burglars that cased this home prior to robbing it, police suspect that at least some of the other break-ins in the area were also well researched, allowing perpetrators to ascertain when residents were home or away, what properties contained or could contain valuable items, and how to make the simplest get away from the crime scene. With fifty seven reported burglaries between June and September, the preponderance of crimes has occurred when residents were away, and in broad day light. Everything from jewelry, money, and electronics to large items such as dishwasher and refrigerator have been stolen. Along with break-ins to residences, storage units and vehicles have also been robbed in the area.

Perhaps the perpetrator is the same one who participated in a rash of still-unsolved burglaries in the Paradise Valley, Scottsdale and Phoenix areas a few years back. That thief completed over there hundred burglaries without detection and stole over ten million dollars in jewelry, cash, and property. Nicknamed the “rock burglar,” for his technique of gaining entry by smashing a window with a rock, this home invader had a penchant for selecting wealthy neighborhoods and targeting homes that appeared to be unoccupied. Homes without extensive lighting, with overgrown lawns or advertising fliers stacked on the doorstep were top choices.

A similar technique was employed by a fifty-two year old Phoenix woman recently arrested in a small string of burglaries in the Scottsdale area. She targeted unoccupied homes, looking for unlocked windows and doors. She was arrested this summer after being seen entering a home through a back door and emerging with jewelry, which was still in her vehicle when she was arrested.

Over forty residential burglaries occurred in the Flagstaff area this summer, and while law enforcement has arrested Edward Sedillo Sr. after nearly two years of investigative work, a large number of stolen items have not been located. Stolen property included vehicles, tools, and electronics.

In each of these widespread burglary sprees, homeowners whose properties appeared to be unoccupied were the most likely to have their valuables stolen and their homes invaded. Police say this underscores the importance of creating at least the impression that residents are home, making sure that newspapers, mail, and trash are taken care of rather than being allowed to build up, employing appropriate outdoor lighting, and utilizing the support of a security system that alerts neighbors, monitoring services, and law enforcement authorities should a robbery occur or be attempted. Keeping lawns groomed and using deadbolts to secure doors are also important, as are double checking to be sure windows and doors in all areas of the home are secure, prior to leaving the property.

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Posted on Tuesday, September 25th, 2012