The alarm blared, but the crook escaped.

Richard Kopecky has been an active member of the Masons for more than 20 years. The idea of giving back to his community and the group’s work always appealed to him.

“I just wanted to join,” he says. “They do a lot of charitable things.”

And as part of the group, he had purchased a ring signifying his membership. His Mason ring was a source of pride, and the rings were a way to recognize other members of the charitable group. Not all Masons have rings, but he enjoyed wearing his — proud of his 20-year membership and service.

“We can tell who’s a Mason and who’s not,” he says of his custom ring.

Unfortunately, his Mason ring was one the pieces of jewelry stolen by a burglar who recently pried open the back door of his family’s Estates West home. The Kopeckys have an alarm, and fortunately, it prevented the crook from making off with more. Police arrived on the scene within minutes, as did Kopecky after being alerted by his security company.

Despite the quick response, the crook was able to make off with the Mason ring as well as some other jewelry. Even though he lost his ring, Kopecky says he prefers to look on the positive side and is glad the burglar was not able to grab anything else.

“It’s just one of those things, but at least no one got hurt. I’ve got to look on the bright side,” he says. “We’ve added more security, and if anyone breaks in here now while we’re at home, they’re not going to get out alive.”

Lt. Gloria Perez with the Dallas Police Northeast Patrol Division says a criminal can often get away with stolen items in only minutes, but that an alarm can minimize the damage and often scare the crook away before anything is taken.

“It is very unfortunate, but it is all too common for a thief or burglar to still get a complainant’s property, including jewelry, before police arrive,” she says. “But if an alarm had not gone off, the burglar would have had time to linger and take more property. Most people keep things of value in certain areas of a house. If the thief or burglar has experience in knowing where these hiding places are, he is more likely to grab and get these smaller items quickly.”