Residents on alert after home burglaries

May 9, 2011 3:59:03 PM PDT
Thieves are targeting a neighborhood in southeast Houston that is home to several high-profile Houstonians and prominent elected officials. The crooks are bold, and in and out of a house in minutes.

Investigators don't believe it's the work of serial burglars. It is no less frustrating for concerned homeowners who feel like they've been robbed of their sense of security.

Looking at the back window that's been boarded up reminds James Williams of the birthday he won't soon forget.

"Glass was all out here in the yard and the door was wide open," Williams said.

While he and his wife were out to dinner celebrating, thieves broke into their home and helped themselves to the couple's valuables, including two TVs, a laptop and jewelry.

"I was violated. I felt violated," said Williams.

What's more, Williams is not alone. Homeowners in the West MacGregor neighborhood have received crime alert emails warning them of break-ins and attempted break-ins.

We put our exclusive Crime Tracker to work: while home burglaries held steady at 28 comparing the first two months of the year, Houston police tell us they saw a spike in April -- with almost twice that many.

"I have an initiative going on out there right now. I can't really talk about that initiative, but we do have some extra things going on out there right now," said Capt. Glenn Yorek of the Houston Police Department.

Thieves aren't targeting just the homes. Residents say more than two dozen storm drain covers have vanished over the past few months. Police are looking into that as well.

Williams hopes they catch the crooks soon.

"But I do believe if this continues, someone is going to get hurt -- whether it's a homeowner or burglar or whoever -- someone is going to get hurt," said Williams.

Two weeks before the break-in, Williams says a teenage boy rang his doorbell looking for a woman.

"We suspect they were casing the house and the neighborhood at that time," Williams said.

Residents say they are doing their part to remain vigilant.

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