By Cobb Police Precinct 2
Greetings, citizens and friends in Southwest Cobb! As I begin this month's installation of the PENS bulletin, I hope everyone out there had a safe and healthy summer.
With the start of the school year, I'm pleased to report a slight decrease in residential burglaries for last month. This is good news for all, but the officers and detectives of South Cobb remain as diligent as ever to serving you by fighting crime.
As you may recall from the August PENS update, our zone had seen a rash of overnight business burglaries beginning in late June. I am pleased as punch to inform you that the burglars have been caught!
Yes, the beat officers on the overnight shift (what we call the "morning watch") recruited the assistance of two of our premier crime fighting units, the TAC unit and the VIPER unit, to join forces in an all-out effort to apprehend the elusive burglars.
On the first night, these two units came together to assist the zone two officers, and an alert officer noticed a suspicious vehicle speeding down Mableton Parkway.
When the officer tried to pull the car over, the driver fled into an apartment complex. The four males in the car then bolted on foot and a passenger was caught. Inside the car were items from two different business burglaries.
Property detectives were roused from home and responded. Within hours, the driver of the car was arrested and a third passenger identified.
In the days that followed, the detectives of Precinct 2 worked diligently to sort through the web of information gained since the arrests. As of this writing, a total of seven males have been identified and five arrested. Warrants have been obtained for the two at large.
Topic of the Month:
Crime and the Foreclosed Home
With the economic woes plaguing our country since 2008, it's no surprise that foreclosure rates have skyrocketed. Here in Cobb County, we too have seen our share of houses abandoned by folks who can no longer pay the mortgage.
Unfortunately, an unoccupied home is an invitation to criminals. We've seen crimes ranging from appliance and copper theft, vandalism, criminal trespass by kids skipping school, and even squatters who overtake the home, some of whom are bold enough to obtain utilities.
Just yesterday, we had a case where two men stole an air conditioner from a vacant home. They were caught only because the next door neighbor heard a sawing noise coming from the home and called police.
He gave a good lookout of the perpetrator's van and the beat officers caught the men moments after they left the scene.
In a more involved case from last year, our detectives investigated a man who represented himself to be a broker/lawyer and was renting out foreclosed homes to multiple unsuspecting clients. His crime was only uncovered when a homeowner who had moved out (but had not yet foreclosed) learned a family had occupied his house. The con man was sentenced to 40 years in prison in May.
As the concerned and aware citizens I know you are, here are some indicators to watch out for if you have a foreclosed property nearby:
- Unfamiliar vehicles parked in the driveway of the home, especially in the middle of the night
- Anyone moving appliances out of the home
- Teenagers at the home, especially during school hours
- Persons pulling up to the mailbox, checking it and quickly pulling away
- Adults who arrive at the home on foot and use a rear door instead of the front
Sometimes, it's not the home at all the criminal is interested in; it could simply be the mailbox. Those specializing in mail fraud will use a vacant home as their mail drop or even have illegal drugs delivered to the home.
What can you as responsible citizens do? Be observant. If you see something you deem suspicious, ask yourself, who should be at a foreclosed home? A realtor? Yes. A home inspector? Yep. Maybe even a construction crew, okay.
You know what these people generally look like. Remember, when considering who should and should not be seen at a foreclosed home, common sense should prevail. As I've mentioned in previous PENS bulletins, if your gut tells you something is amiss, it probably is. Call 911 and let us do the work.
As always, don't approach the suspicious person(s) but do be a good witness and note the details about the person(s) and any vehicles present so you can relay this to the 911 operator. Who knows, maybe I'll be highlighting you as an alert citizen next month in PENS!