Firearms stolen from truck near West Lake Hills

Exterior security footage captures burglar outside home in West Lake Hills. (Courtesy: Catherine Howry)
Exterior security footage captures burglar outside home in West Lake Hills. (Courtesy: Catherine Howry)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A family in West Lake Hills is sending a message to their community to be diligent about safety and security, after burglars were caught on security camera footage in their driveway stealing four firearms and a camera from inside their truck.

“We all get a little complacent. You don’t think anything like that could happen to you, in your house, in your driveway,” explained Catherine Howry. “My husband went out to go to work the next morning and found his car ransacked. Things were strewn all over the console and the seats. He came right back in and called the police.”

Howry says no one heard the burglary in action the early morning hours May 30, when the suspects were rummaging through their truck, which was unlocked.

“We heard nothing. Our dog was asleep, you know, just feet from them and heard nothing,” she said. “You feel violated, for sure. If they’re in your car, what’s stopping them from coming into your house in what we think is a very safe neighborhood? All of our kids run around. It’s scary to think about.”

Howry says the firearms were in the vehicle because they take them to and from their ranch. Howry says she’s now fearful the criminals could use the guns to commit another crime.

“That’s really I think, a gun owner’s worst nightmare. So, we hope that does not happen,” said Howry, who mentioned each of the firearms are registered. “Each one has a serial number and they are registered to us. We have reported them stolen.”

It’s her hope the burglars would pawn the firearms so their guns could be traced, be recognized as stolen—and hopefully by doing so—the suspects would be caught.

But, that’s only one of her concerns. Howry says it’s also frightening the burglars knew they have security cameras and knew exactly where they were located.

“They had to have scouted it out. They had to have been here before, been driving through the neighborhood, or somehow, they knew,” Howry said.

The burglary itself took only a matter of minutes. The security footage shows a man approaching the Howry’s driveway at 2:56 a.m. The man uses his shirt to cover his face from the view of the camera. About two minutes later, the man walks away from the truck with his hands full. A minute after that, another man appears, this time covering his face with his hand, as he walks toward the truck. He leaves at 3 a.m. carrying something else.

For Howry, it hit too close to home and happened too fast. She says she’s making changes and spreading the word.

“Be on the lookout. Keep garage doors closed. Lock your cars. Set your alarms. If you see anything suspicious — cars, people that shouldn’t be in your neighborhood — just report it because you’re better safe than sorry.”

According to the Travis County Sheriff’s Office, there were a total of four vehicles burglarized at three different homes that day. Four guns were stolen from one of the vehicles–the Howry’s truck, and a purse was stolen from one of the others.

It is important to note that all vehicles involved in the recent burglary activity were unlocked.

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