The Burglar's Guide To Home Security: A WAFF 48 News Special Report
MORGAN COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - If you want to know more about your vehicle, talk to a mechanic. If you want to know more about your health, talk to a doctor. If you want to know how to keep your home safe from crime, why not talk to a burglar?
We did, and what this guy has to say could very well save you time, trouble and money. The Morgan County Sheriff's Department was kind enough to deliver a convicted burglar to us. We agreed not to identify him if he would share his insight into how he would go about stealing from a Morgan County home.
The home is secluded, on a heavily-wooded lot. We knew he would mention the trees providing good cover, but the second thing out of his mouth was a surprise.
"The doors are lightweight. They're real easy to open," he said.
That was just the first of a number of things he saw that many of us would never have thought about. He said he would probably have two friends with him. They would hide the car in the woods. One would stay with the car, and the other two would go to the house.
First, they'd want to make sure nobody was home. That's simple enough.
"Somebody would probably knock on the front door," he said.
If nobody answers, it's "game on." He said with a flathead screw driver and a crowbar, you can get into any house. A sliding glass door in back is the easiest spot for him at a house.
"You can open that door with a butter knife." He said he'd actually use a flathead screw driver.
Once inside the house, his first stop would be the living room.
"That's where most of the electronics are going to be," he said. "TV, Playstation, Blue Ray or DVR."
Flat screen TVs are light enough these days for one person to carry - not to mention a computer and laptop. Our burglar is big on electronics. They're easy to sell.
From there, it's off to the master bedroom. There may be flat screen TV he would take. He's also looking for jewelry, cash left in drawers, even a safe, often times kept in a closet.
In this home, he spotted some rifles in a closet that he'd steal. At that point, he said he would be finished. He's conscious of time. He'd try to be in and out in five minutes, 10 tops.
His partner in the vehicle would then pull into the garage, and they'd load up the loot. He said this "hypothetical haul" would be close to $3,000. He also said it would take him no longer than 30 minutes to sell the stolen stuff.
"Pawn shops are going to take it regardless," he said when asked who buys the stolen goods.
Pawn shops are supposed to check ID's and serial numbers, but he said there are pawn shop owners who know him. In fact, he said they know all the burglars in the area. It's a network. They buy it and sell it to another pawn shop. Nobody is turned in. Everybody makes money. That's why this burglar calls this addictive.
"You know for a fact somebody's going to buy this," he said.
So how do we stop them? They're not going to show up at night. They don't want a confrontation, so they'll show up in the morning. That's when the kids are at school and the parents are at work.
"Between 8 and 3, nobody's home," he said.
Dead bolts on your doors, especially the light doors he mentioned on this home, can be popped with a crowbar – and the same thing with your windows.
"Just put the crowbar or screwdriver there and the locks pop off."
He said most burglars can disarm alarm systems. In the case of surveillance cameras, they just cover their faces and remove their car tag. Don't leave home with your blinds open. For burglars, it's like window shopping.
"They call it advertising," he said.
He also said leaving children's toys outside is a red flag.
"They got kids, more than likely they have game systems."
This burglar said at least twice to us that the best thing you can do is to "love they neighbor," whether it's a community watch program, or just informal.
"Have your neighbors look out for each other."
You have to watch for burglars because, rest assured, they're watching you. This burglar says he prefers cities, neighborhoods where the homes are close together. That way, he said, he can hit five or six homes in an hour.
And how much money can they make? He said one week, he pocketed between $15-20,000.
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