By Mike Reitan, Assistant WF Police Chief
In a burglary of your home the items mostly likely to be stolen are cash and goods a burglar can easily carry and sell. Cash, coins, jewelry, weapons and electronic equipment are easy targets. Most often a vehicle is required to steal the larger items like electronics and tools while cash and jewelry are easily carried by someone traveling on foot.
Few burglars keep the items they steal. Frequently items are sold at pawn shops or second hand stores. Other items are traded or sold to people the burglar knows or online through programs like Craig’s List or e-Bay. In many cases the burglar offers or settles on a selling price much lower than the item is worth.
Law enforcement and legitimate pawn stores participate in computer based registration programs to identify people dealing in stolen property. The pawn store is required to record the seller’s personal identification information. They also record a detailed description of the items sold to include make, model and serial numbers. The information is loaded by a pawn store employee into a centralized data base. Law enforcement officers investigating stolen property crimes can search the data base for a match of property reported stolen. If a suspected stolen item is located law enforcement will request a hold be placed on the item. Law enforcement will also request the identifying information of the seller.
As a property owner you should record the make, model and serial number of valuables in your home. Recording and photographing unique identifying marks that can be found on an item is also helpful to assist in locating the item if it is stolen. Keep the listing of your items in a safe place and away from other valuables. If a theft does occur your insurance company will also want information on the cost of the item at the time of purchase and date the purchase was made.
Burglars learn from their past experience where to look in a home to find certain items. Cash and jewelry is normally found in the master bedroom atop the dresser or in the top drawer. Firearms maybe found in a gun cabinet or just as likely in the bedroom closet. A woman’s purse will be on the kitchen counter. Rainy day funds will be in the kitchen freezer, the burglar just needs to look for the unusual container located there. Most burglars will want to be in and out of your home before they are discovered. They will look in the most probable locations to find what they want and avoid those areas they feel will offer little reward.
Using fire proof safes and lock boxes are a good idea. The caution is they need to be securely fastened to an anchor point to prevent them from being carried off to be opened elsewhere. Locking firearms vaults will protect your gun collection far better than the weapons display case. Deposit the rainy day funds into a special account at your bank that can be accessed by a cash card. Keep valuables out of sight and not in locations where they are easy to quickly grab. Anything you can do to delay or prevent the discovery of your valuables will improve the odds the items will not be stolen if a burglary were to occur in your home.