He let himself in and helped himself to the laptop.

The Victim: Steve Zareff
The Crime: Burglary
Date: Thursday, Dec. 1
Time: 10:20 a.m.
Location: 200 block of Rosemont

Steve Zareff was only trying to help. A friend’s son was a bit down on his luck and needed a place to stay. Zareff and his roommate had some extra space, so they offered to let him stay in their Winnetka Heights home. Zareff even often offered the use of his laptop to help the young man spruce up his résumé and possibly find a job.

The good feelings about the situation didn’t last long.

Soon Zareff found the man was on drugs and asking others for money. Things turned so sour, Zareff asked him to move out — something the boarder was unhappy about.

A few days later, the boarder returned while Zareff’s roommate was at home to collect some clothes. Zareff had hidden the laptop in a side room and locked the door. Later that day, Zareff found the door had been pried open and the lock broken. As the roommate watched TV in the living room, Zareff believes the boarder pried his way into the room and made off with the laptop.

Through the ordeal, Zareff has learned to be a bit more careful when trying to be a good Samaritan.

“It’s already a lost cause. He’s probably already hawked it and gotten a little cash for it,” he says. “You try to be a rescuer, and you end up being a victim.”

Dallas Police Lt. Gil Garza of the Southwest Patrol Division says residents should always be mindful of those they let into their homes — whether friends or family.

“If you know the person is struggling with some sort of addiction, you may need to question what this person is currently doing to seek help,” he says. “It may not be wise to let them into your home if they have not sought any help or taken steps to remedy their situation.”

There are also resources available to conduct background checks via dallascounty.org. Residents also can visit dallaspolice.net to find sex offender information as well.

Crime Numbers


Amount of cash stolen from a woman Jan. 10 at the Texas Barber College in the 400 block of West Jefferson


Date when someone broke into a home in the 700 block of South Willomet and stole three flat-screen televisions and a laptop, leaving the homeowner’s dog standing on the front porch


Block of Stevens Village where a man was robbed at gunpoint by two individuals who stole the victim’s wallet, jewelry and car keys, on Jan. 7.

Source: Dallas Police Department