I want to catch the robber

What started as an unhealthy interest level has quickly turned in to a severe case of what I like to call “voluntary agoraphobia.” For the past month, the Highlands has been the target of a high number of home break ins and burglaries. Living right in the middle of the Highlands, and with several neighbors who fell victim to these home invaders, I have reached ultimate lockdown and survey mode. My lifetime full of love for shows like Dateline NBC and 48 Hours Mystery are fueling my underlying interest in my neighborhoods misfortune and my supreme goal to be the one to “catch the predator.” Being at home with two young boys all day and writing from home gives me the opportunity to be the protecter of my street. I can keep a look out for the newest suspects, write down license plate numbers, and patiently wait for the joker who tries to mess with my house.

All kidding aside, I do find it my responsibility to look out for my neighbors. Innocent people are being wiped out of important and expensive belongings so a few addicts can get their next high.

The suspects stealing from our community members are mostly white males and females who are unarmed and addicted to heroin. Because of the new laws protecting prescription drugs, heroine is apparently making a come back on the streets. These robbers usually work in groups and go after empty houses. There are two times of day when they usually strike; Between 9am and noon, and late afternoon until 4:30. The burglars work fast and aren’t afraid to hit an area more than once. On Saturday, January 12 the Bonnycastle neighborhood was hit five times in a matter of hours. How do they get away with it? Usually one member of the group, often the girlfriend, will knock on the front door with a made-up story in mind to see if anyone is at home. It is important that you always make your presence known if you expect someone might want to rob your house. If the group members feel that a house is empty they will usually find a way inside through the back of the house either kicking in the door or entering through a window. The police suggest opening the door to the robber and telling them “WE are having a family dinner” or “WE are having a reunion” anything that emphasizes that there are others home. Not sure what I would say in that situation.

My neighborhood crime watch met with some of our local police officers last week and they had some helpful advice. If you suspect your house was robbed or you suspect someone wants to rob your house, call 911 right away before looking for your belongings. It only takes the LMPD 3-4 minutes to get to the scene of the robbery. The sooner you call will only up the chances that police can either catch the thief red-handed or at their next stop two doors down. It is helpful as well to try to get as much information to police as possible. Look out for the robbers getting away in a vehicle and look for license plate numbers; don't assume there are already miles away. The Police at the meeting also told us an LMPD officer will come to your house free of charge to give you advice on how to make your home more secure against an intruder. They will even do extra patrols around your house if you give them a heads up the next time you go out of town.

Right now, police are focussed on finding Brandon Cheathem, the suspected ringleader of a burglary ring that is being blamed for over 20 burglaries and stealing $39,000 of lawn care equipment from North Oldham High School. Cheathem drives a red sedan with Indiana license plates. If you see Cheathem call LMPD’s anonymous tip line 574-LMPD.

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