Sheriff Nichols: Home Thefts, Burglaries Increase; Take Precautions
Wednesday, February 10, 2010 1:43 pm
The Cannon County Sheriff’s Department cautions residents to be more careful with their jewelry, guns, home electronics and other valuables.
“We have seen an increase in the number of thefts and burglaries during the past weeks,” said Sheriff Billy Nichols. “A lot of people have been laid off from work or just can’t find a job and resort to theft to get the money. A lot of thieves cruise the county looking for a home or business to break into for whatever they can find.”
Sheriff’s Investigators Charlie Wilder and Vance Walker added that if someone has a valuable ring, necklace, bracelet or other item that is valuable or of sentimental value it should be kept in a lock box or home safe.
“The big thing now is taking jewelry because the thieves can take it to a pawn shop for cash or these television advertisements where you mail in the items and you get a check within a few days,” said Investigator Wilder. “A lot of our investigations have shown that a lot of these items leave Cannon County. We investigate as thoroughly as we can but it makes tracking the items difficult. If a thief takes jewelry items to a pawn shop, some shop owners will for example, take the diamonds out of a bracelet or ring and put them in another piece of jewelry and melt the rest of the item down .”
Large scale home entertainment items and guns are also items that thieves look for first. Thieves also look for handguns, shotguns and rifles. These items are easily sold on the street or taken to area pawn shops for quick cash.
“We are seeing a large number of digital cameras, I-Pods, X-Boxes, flat screen tv’s and game combos being targets of thieves,” said Investigator Vance Walker. “We remind home owners to especially write down the serial numbers of these items. If we are fortunate enough to find the items after an individual is arrested or we find them at pawn shops if we have a serial number it makes it very easy for the victim to recover their items. This does not take much time to record and most homeowners often don’t even know what brand their TV or DVD player is which makes it more difficult to track down.”
Homeowners should record the serial numbers for two purposes, one for investigators to track down more easily and the other for insurance claims. Most insurance companies ask for the serial or model numbers of items that have been taken in home burglaries. If you don’t wear a lot of the keepsake jewelry that has a lot of sentimental value….put it in a lock box.
“A lot of the time when we arrest an individual who has a large quantity of items in his vehicle or his residence that we suspect is stolen we can’t find who it belongs to,” said Sheriff Nichols. “If the item still has the serial number on it that can be traced back to where it was purchased and by whom, but it the serial has been removed it is very difficult to find the owner unless they come in and can recognize the item.”
Sheriff Nichols added, “I would recommend that citizens be observant of your community and your neighbor. If you see a car or truck at your neighbors home that does not look right you should call us. If possible, try and get a description of the vehicle (color, model) and a license plate number is the best information we can get. If it looks suspicious, call us and we will respond.”