WSAV Investigates: Burglars in Action - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

WSAV Investigates: Burglars in Action

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EFFINGHAM COUNTY, GA -

It's a crime of opportunity, and all about the money.

But are you making it easy for burglars without even knowing it?

Every 13 seconds.

That's how often homes are broken into. A total of more than 2 million burglaries each and every year.

But how do these criminals get in - and how fast can they get out with your stuff?

The only way to find out is to follow the crime.

News 3 was on hand to watch as a home gets burglarized.
 
After surveying the scene the burglar is quickly through the gate. Goes around back and in the door with just a few swipes of a credit card.

Inside he moves quickly, grabbing what he can off counters in drawers and then its off to case the rest of the house.

But we have to back up, because this criminal isn't all about the Benjamins.
 
He's actually here to help prevent these type of crimes.

"The deadbolt wasn't locked, its as simple as that. A locked deadbolt may have prevented this burglary," explained the "burglar" Investigator Bobby McQuaig.

Investigator Bobby McQuaig of the Effingham County Sheriff's is stealing everything he can as fast as he can.

"The TV is too bulky for me to take alone." explained McQuaig. "If I'm here with a couple people doing it, The TV is going with us."

The TV stays for now, but as he heads toward the bedroom nothing else is off limits.

"There was a laptop on the table here. Took it."

"Noticed a couple jewelry items on the table here. Grabbed them real quick."

And it all fits neatly inside a pillowcase from that same bedroom.

"Once I scanned a room real quick and realized there was something in there of value I grabbed it," details McQuaig. "Scanned another room, see if there's nothing of value, you move on pretty quick."

Quick may be an understatement. In less than 3 minutes our burglar fills up his bag with everything he can find and is out the door. Escaping without a trace.

"Just about every burglary we go to this is the stuff we find," points out McQuaig.

The "stuff" in this case ranges from computers to video games to watches. A wallet and even a gun.

"Sometimes the stuff shows up at pawn shops," explains the Investigator. "Sometimes it traded for drugs and in other places. Traded for items of other value, trade a computer for a gun."

So we showed you how easy it was to get stuff out of the house. But investigators say the way your home looks on the outside may make you the next target.

 "Folks look like they might be busy. Lots of things going on in a home," says  Sgt. Ramsey Mannon of the Effingham County Sheriff's Office. "When you look at a yard and its unkempt, good chance things are left out, unsecured."

Shrubs and trees that are cut back for visibility can help. As can neighbors who keep a close eye and ear on the homes next door.

"A burglar can walk down the street and go into a garage, close the garage door," points out Mannon. "Now he has access into the door into the home. Plenty of time to work. If they can try to get into your home quietly and you make it easy for them, they will do it."

A tip to help police and make sure burglars have a tough time "cashing in" on their crime?

Take down serial numbers off all your electronics, or even better take pictures of the serial numbers and all your valuables.

But even then, WSAV Crime Expert and former Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Major Gerry Long says, catching these burglars isn't easy.

"You have solveability factors," explains Long. "Are there any witnesses, is there any forensic evidence? Was any evidence left at the scene that might lead to the identity of the suspect?"

"If there are no forensics, if there are no serial numbers, if that item is not pawned or given to a jewelry shop or a gold buyer, its very difficult to solve burglaries and it's a very unfortunate thing."

If you are going away for any length of time, make sure to have your neighbors check on your house.

If you want extra protection, in Effingham County you can ask for a house check from a deputy who will pass by at least once a day.

The harder you make it for criminals, the more likely you'll be safe.

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