Thieves strike several homes while families sleep

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Police are on the lookout for criminals using a creative way to get into your home in the middle of the night.

“It’s normally very quiet,” said Mitch Abbott. “That’s about the only sound you usually hear. Crickets and bull frogs and that sort of thing.”

But lately, some neighbors are waking up to very different sounds; criminals rummaging through their homes. Thieves have broken into at least three homes in the Bauerle Ranch community in South Austin.

GOING IN-DEPTH // CRIME IN THE AREA

  • In June 2012, there were no reported crimes in the Bauerly Ranch neighborhood according to the Austin Police crime viewer.
  • A year later, there were two burglaries in one month.
  • Fast forward to this past June, there were five burglaries and three thefts in this small area which is less than a square mile.

“They’re getting bolder,” Abbott said. He lives with his family right next door to one of the victims. “That’s the part that’s even more unnerving…what went from petty crime changed to home invasion so to speak.”

Thieves broke into at least three homes on Bankside Street on June 22. Another house on Fitzroy Lane just around the corner was also burglarized.

In each case, investigators say people were inside asleep when the suspects got into their cars, grabbed the garage door opener and let themselves in.

Neighbors worry it could happen to them next.

“The thought of someone coming into the house while they’re sleeping, walking in, and then go upstairs…who knows what can happen,” said Kevin Sedwick.

These break-ins have neighbors concerned for their safety and many of them signing up for Nextdoor, a website that lets you know what is happening in your neighborhood.

“It’s real time,” Abbott says, “you know residents who are on the page so you can encourage others to get involved.”

This way you know what crime is happening and where.

In all of these cases no one was hurt.

The Bauerle Ranch Homeowners Association says they are aware of the break-ins and sending out an e-mail to all of its residents.

Police say to remember to always lock your car and if you do not have it in your garage, do not leave the garage door opener out in the open for criminals to see.

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