PALM DESERT – Margie Nash and her husband live in the Palm Lake Villas.
She says thieves robbed her neighbor’s house a few weeks ago. They entered through the window and stole some cash.
“There were the police and the residents,” Nash said recalling the moment the burglary was reported. “I asked the police [about the scene] and he said, ‘Please tell me you saw something.’ I said, ‘I’m sorry I didn’t.'”
Palm Desert Police are looking for cat burglars responsible for stealing from nearly a dozen homes in gated communities around the city.
At the Palm Lake Villas, residents have posted a sign in the mailroom warning of theives.
The sign caught the attention of resident John DeVincent. He never thought burglars would target his complex.
“I’ve never seen anything like that before in the three years I’ve been here,” said DeVincent. “It’s pretty quiet, pretty nice little area.”
Police have a few leads so they are leaning on the community to help find these burglars.
The crimes also have residents thinking safety. A maximum security sign now sits in front of one of the homes that were burglarized. But police say you don’t necessarily need a security system, just exercise some common sense.
Things like closing and locking windows and sliding glass doors at night will help.
Police also say to keep outside lights on at night and have a neighborhood watch, which is something the Palm Lake Villas don’t have.
Police have targeted repeat-burglar Calvin Arnold as a potential suspect in the latest thiefts.
Still, Palm Desert Police are looking for more suspects in other cases.
As for Margie and her husband, they’re making sure any cat burglars that try and rob their home have fewer then nine lives.
“We’re insured by Smith and Wesson,” Margie warns.
The following are a few prevention tips you can use to keep your house and property safe and secure:
Always lock your doors and windows, even if you are gone for a minute. Never leave a spare key under a doormat, in a flower pot or on a door ledge. Ensure outside entrances have deadbolt locks with a 1-inch strong metal bar. If using padlocks, be sure they are made of steel and kept locked at all times. Windows should have secure locks. If you plan on going on vacation, stop the mail and newspaper delivery or have a neighbor collect them on a daily basis. Consider alarm systems. Never open the door without knowing who is there. Record all make, models and serial numbers of expensive computer, stereo or television equipment. Keep the records in a secured safe place, preferably out of the home. Consider engraving a driver’s license number on your valuables. Criminals do not want marked items because it makes it difficult to fence and can easily be identified as stolen property when they are caught. Photograph items that cannot be engraved (jewelry, silverware, antiques) and maintain a file of these items. Illuminate the exterior perimeter of your residence with motion or light sensor lights.
Business owners can also protect their businesses by following these important prevention tips:
Train employees how to use the alarm system properly. Consider removing all expensive items from window displays at night. Make sure police can easily see into the business after closing. Light the outside perimeter of homes and businesses. Check the parking lot of businesses for good lighting and unobstructed views. Mark equipment (computers, printers, cash registers, etc.) with an identifiable number such as a tax identification, license number, or initials. Instruct employees to call police if they see any suspicious activity or persons on or near the business.