Burglars repeatedly strike North Columbus homes in broad dayligh - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Burglars repeatedly strike North Columbus homes in broad daylight


Residents in North Columbus said they're seeing an increase in daytime burglaries, especially during the past week.

On Wednesday, News Leader Nine reported a story about the man on Double Churches Road whose dog ran away when intruders kicked down his door, and it looks like he's not alone. 

You may not want to be one of those nosey neighbors who's in everyone's business, but these are desperate times. A few people who unknowingly witnessed these burglars going Christmas shopping in other people's homes said they didn't take a closer look because they didn't know enough to say whether or not the intruder's van belonged in the driveway.

We've seen it before in places all over Columbus, and now it's especially occurring in neighborhoods north of the JR Allen Parkway.   A group of three to four young men pull up in a stolen vehicle and check to see if anyone's home.   When they get no answer, they kick down the door and proceed to empty the house of anything they can get their hands on.   If a car is parked in the driveway and the keys are in the house, they'll take that too and use it to load up items at the next house.  It happened to Maegan Trent the morning of Halloween.

"I thought people, especially people with kids, would be home throughout the day, getting costumes, getting candy.  I didn't think that Halloween was the ideal day for a break-in.   And then for sure, I definitely couldn't participate in any of the trick-or-treating stuff for the neighborhood.   My dogs were in the backyard, so I wanted to make sure they were okay, and when I got home, they were fine, but they were definitely not a deterrent for these people," said Trent. 

She had to get her entire door replaced and she's working with insurance to replace thousands of dollars worth of electronics.  Surveillance video from a neighbor further down the street shows a police car passing her house minutes before the burglary.   A garbage truck picks up trash, and other neighbors are out and about while the crime is in progress. The man whose camera picked up these far away images said people saw the stolen van in Trent's driveway, but they thought she had visitors or repairmen working.   

"I wish I would have known my neighbors better- what cars belong there, what cars don't.   I was outside when they were down there.   And a few more neighbors were too.   We were out there talking while they were breaking into the house," said Ken Martin.

He advises everyone on his street to buy a surveillance camera just like the one on his house.  It cost him between two and three hundred dollars, and positioned on a house closer to the scene, the camera may have picked up more than just the grainy silhouettes at the top of Martin's screen. 

The stolen van these burglars were using has since been recovered, and a few of the items taken were inside, but these suspects are still at large and probably using other cars to commit their crimes.  

Some of the other burglary victims on Trent's street said the intruders didn't stop at valuables. They took everything that looked appealing, from beer, to a bowl of Halloween candy.  One man said the group had enough time to eat ice cream cones out of his freezer and they left the wrappers on the floor. 

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