Monday, November 30, 2009

To Catch A Thief

Our neighbourhood, particularly the street where I live, has been under siege for several weeks. People are afraid to go out and leave their homes for fear that they will be robbed, due to a serial housebreaker who has broken into up to a dozen houses. He has stolen articles like cash, laptops and digital cameras, and other small portable items. Some of the houses have been damaged by the break-in method, for instance our next door neighbour’s back door was removed from its frame and the frame damaged beyond repair when the thief jemmied the door off.

The neighbourhood was galvanised into watchfulness – any strangers wandering the streets were observed suspiciously, and one in particular stood out as he regularly walked up and down the street. From police investigations, the thief was mooted to have small hands, and one neighbour actually found him in his house, though we only found that out the other day. A short guy was his description.

Yesterday at about 1.30pm B observed the suspect as he walked down the street. The suspect actually knocked on a door at a house across the way, and asked the resident if he had any work. A false ploy, obviously - he was casing the joint.

B has had a digital camera parked near the front door, so that if he saw the suspect, he could try and get a photo of him. This he managed to do yesterday, just before the thief broke into another house across the road. After snapping several photos, B rang the police. They arrived pretty fast. Meanwhile I cropped the clearest photo and printed it for B to give to the police as they went in pursuit of the suspect.

The outcome is that the thief was caught, carrying a stolen leaf blower, the police recognizing him from the photo as they drove around the area. They were pleased as punch to finally nab the guy.

B is now the local hero, and the neighbourhood can finally rest easy. That is, unless the guy is released on bail. Not that I wish to further malign the culprit, we suspect he’d immediately reoffend.


BwcaBrownie said...

In North Melbourne Dangerous Meredith has a street-crime related post.

Yes - re-offending.
Good luck.

Anne S said...

We learned today that the offender had prior form and had broken parole so he's in the slammer. We can rest easy for a little while.

Dangerous Meredith certainly faced a far creepier type of street crime.

Jan said...

WOW! Some story..take care.

Francis Xavier Holden said...

Good work. sounds like a good kids detective story, like The Babysitters stuff, in there somewhere.

These guys are usually idiots. Sad but then theres also plenty of idiots who don't break the law and frighten people.

With a brand new laptop costing around $500 these days, TVs cheap as buggery, ditto digital cameras, I wonder how much these guys get for a few items from a burg? $100 tops for a whole box of stuff I guess.

Anne S said...

FX: I agree with your sentiments - it is hardly worth stealing a laptop, and only causes pain to the victim if they have their masterpiece on it and have failed to back up, which happened to one of the neighbours.

I have a bung laptop I'm leaving out for the thief should he get out of the slammer and try our place.

But the whole point of the paranoia is the fact that this person can invade one's space - a violation of privacy.

I travel on public transport all the time, and I have witnessed the mad idiots you speak of and made sure not to make eye contact - a book is handy in these circumstances.