PALM DESERT – A warning hangs at the front gate at the Palm Lakes community in Palm Desert. Management say a man and women posing as potential home buyers stole a resident’s wallet, then tried to do it again a short time later.
The suspects first got into the gated neighborhood by following a resident in, past the security gate. On their second attempt, they called the potential victim from this callbox and the resident buzzed them in.
Living behind a security gate may make you feel safe but it’s not a sure fire way for stay safe. Neighbors say you have to be careful who you let in. Rhene Jenks’ name is right near the top of the community’s callbox. She recently had a stranger call, asking to get in.
“So I said hello and he said ‘Oh hi. My name is so and so.’ I didn’t even catch his name,” says Jenks, a 3 year resident of Palm Lakes. “He said, ‘I live in unit 3 and I just dropped my car off and had to pick up a rental and I don’t have my gate opener. Would you open the gate?’ And I just hung up the phone. I don’t let anyone in I don’t know.”
It’s advice anyone who lives behind a security gate should follow. But it doesn’t always prevent others from getting in. It’s not uncommon to have another driver follow you in past the security gate.
“Since I’m a resident I came around and opened the gate and came in and he pulled after me and passed to,” says Dagny Dorris, who’s lived at Palm Lakes since March.
Property managers at Palm Lakes say homeowners, the cleaners and the gardeners are the only others to have access to gate openers. Everyone else must get approval from the homeowner they want to visit before they pass. Making it important residents don’t open the door to crime.
“You could make up anything. I work for fed ex. I’m making a flower delivery. And you tell them what address you want and they’ll let you in,” says Jenks.