True crime: Theft

Someone ripped off the paneling.

The thief knew what he was doing and was quite adept at concealing his work. Andrea Hefley says someone kicked in her rear gate to gain access to her detached garage. And rather than break through the garage door, the thief stayed behind the garage and pulled off exterior paneling to get inside. The thief was so meticulous that he repositioned the motion sensor lights to aim toward the sky rather than illuminate his theft. He made off with power tools, a gas can and even a propane tank from the family’s outdoor grill — which Hefley says seemed a bit bulky for a thief to carry.

Hopefully, the thief may already have been taken off the streets. Police called the family that night saying they had arrested someone in the area trying to steal a car, but there was no way to know whether it was the same person.

The Hefleys experienced another crime about two months ago at their Winnetka Heights home. A friend had all the gasoline siphoned out of his car.

“It was more of an inconvenience than anything,” she says of the theft. “We’re new to the area and just kind of wondering what’s going to happen next.”

Dallas Police Lt. Gil Garza of the Southwest Patrol Division says thieves will do anything to avoid detection including using lookouts, and moving or removing lights altogether.

“They will even attempt to disarm alarms and power going into a particular location by cutting the phone and electrical lines,” he says.

Some homeowners add wireless alarm systems, along with traditional alarms, as a backup in case burglars cut the phone or electrical lines. Garza says propane tanks are not frequent theft targets, but occasionally are taken to be sold or for personal use.


Crime Numbers

11

Number of incidents that occurred in a one-month period around Winnetka Heights in the area bound by West Clarendon, South Hampton, West Jefferson and South Tyler, including:

2

thefts

3

car burglaries

1

assault

Source: Dallas Police Department crime stats from Nov. 8-Dec. 8


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