The Crime: Burglary
The Victim: Michael and Michelle Wiedemer
Location: 500 block of Ravinia Drive
Date: Wednesday, July 30
Time: Between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m.
The day got off to a bad start.
Ravinia Heights resident Michael Wiedemer left his home at 5 a.m., and by 8 a.m. his wife, Michelle, was calling to tell him that the padlock on their detached garage had been cut, and a weed whacker, hedge trimmers and leaf blower were missing.
“They really took very little of value,” Michael Wiedemer says. “They got in, got what they could, and got out real quick.”
In the last 18 months, the Wiedemers’ garage has been targeted by thieves multiple times. The first time, Wiedemer says he didn’t have a “real lock” on the door. So he bought a padlock. When the thieves broke in again, police told him to install a light.
“We don’t always turn it on because of the whole light pollution thing, but with them hitting us in the morning, the light doesn’t really help,” Wiedemer says.
Another step the Wiedemers are taking is creating an inventory of belongings and engraving them with serial numbers. They did this with the replacements for their stolen lawn mower and golf clubs, but “I now have serial numbers on my lawn mower, and they took my hedge clippers,” Wiedemer says.
Some of their neighbors have had similar experiences, including one with a trailer holding lawn equipment that was burglarized, “so yeah, somebody’s starting up a lawn business,” Wiedemer jokes. He also believes someone must be scoping out the neighborhood, because the burglaries have occurred sometime between the family leaving the house for the workday or an evening activity and when they arrive home.
Dallas Police Lt. Jamie Keough of the Southwest Patrol Division says if the Wiedemers think someone is watching them drive off, leaving a light on or a radio playing might deter criminals. Another big help, she says, is getting to know your neighbors and asking them to keep an eye on the house and call 911 if they see someone walking up and down an alley or looking into back yards.
Keough says the Wiedemers are taking all of the right steps, and engraving their property with serial numbers — though it may not be a deterrent to criminals — will at least help recover the property. She encourages people to use their driver’s license number so that police can easily run the number and quickly identify the rightful owner. Engravers can be checked out from the Southwest Patrol Substation, 4230 W. Illinois.
Michael Wiedemer says being a repeat victim of crime “gets a little annoying,” but he and his family will keep fighting it.
“We talked about it, and the knee-jerk reaction is just sell the house and go to Flower Mound,” he says. “There’s some difficult things with living out here, and I still wouldn’t trade it. I’ll do what I gotta do.”
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Oak Cliff.