Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A rash of burglaries

What the ashes look like.
My house was broken in to last Wednesday during the day - broke a kitchen window, rummaged
around and seemingly left with nothing other than my house and car keys and my wife's ashes.

I posted this on Nextdoor.com (in case anyone saw the ashes) and got lots of sympathy (but no ashes):
My home was burglarized yesterday (20th & John). Broken window. Thief apparently searching for valuables - lots of drawers emptied out. Only obvious item missing is a clear plastic bag containing about 3 lb of my late wife's ashes. See photo: it's a fine white powder. If you see it around I'd sort of like to get it back. (I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, so did both). I had scattered some of the ashes (hence got closure) but thought of a great location for the rest (it's been > 5 years so it's not been a pressing issue!). I have reported this information to the police.
Several other similar posts on Nextdoor - clearly one active burglar around, going only for expensive watches and jewelry. This follow-up post from Nextdoor provides excellent advice:

We were also burgled two weeks ago (Jan 9th) during the daytime on Olin Place. Similar story to what other neighbors here have experienced. They broke the glass in our backdoor and took only jewelry and watches. I agree with Trevor Cobb, they must have a way to sell these things much more easily, quickly, and safely than other items like lap tops and the like which they ignored. I haven’t seen any of it on eBay or Craigslist, so I wonder if they are using one of the other online options people here have mentioned.
And as someone else noted, there seems to be quite a lot of this going on right now on the Hill. The investigating officer said it was the third burglary call he got that day alone.
One thing the SPD officer did say about prevention is to get an alarm system that makes a lot of noise, ie, loud enough that neighbors can hear it when it goes off. He said the racket tends to send them immediately running. He also said one method they often use to identify houses to rob is to go door to door ringing the doorbell with some scam story to present and if no one answers at a house, they go around to the back and try to find a way in. There are doorbell-type devices that connect to your phone so that if someone rings it, you are called and can respond to whomever is on the other side of the door as if you were in the house. 
Curiously, he also recommended keeping a clean glass jar full of quarters next to collections of jewelry and watches. The coins are apparently irresistible and when they grab the jar to empty it, they leave their finger prints.

Update (1/25/17) from a Nextdoor fellow vicitm
Just a quick update on our situation, the detective has us looking at jewelry next week. They have apprehended suspects that were caught with goods that appear to match ours. We'll circle back if we're able to confirm as much.

Sounds similar to the work of this burglary group, though I'd never thought of my life as "high end". 

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