Wichita Police Recognize Neighborhood Watch Group

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Friday, February 27, 2009

The efforts of one neighborhood watch group demonstrate how residents can make a difference in stopping crime.

Helping to stop crime on his street is something David Rothenberger and his neighbors have been doing for years.

“We’ve actually been pretty active and have caught quite a few people,” Rothenberger said.

The latest incident happened Thursday afternoon. A neighbor called Rothenberger to tell him she was suspicious of a gray Lexus with three men in it, which had stopped at a house on the street.

“I went out front and grabbed the camera and took a picture of the car,” Rothenberger said.

Rothenberger then walked across the street, wrote down the tag number and rang the door bell. No one responded. He returned home to watch from behind his picture window.

“I dialed 911. At this point, they’d raised the garage door and started loading what they were stealing. I started taking pictures while I was talking to the 911 operator, giving them information. Police were here almost immediately,” Rothenberger said.

Police caught up with the suspects after a brief chase and got the stolen items returned to the owners. The Lexus was reported stolen in January.

"This is a great example of citizens getting involved and having a stake, a voice in assuring the safety and well being of their neighborhood,” said Wichita Police Chief Norman Williams.

This isn’t the first time Rothenberger and his watch group stopped crime on their street. About ten years ago, they helped police catch a killer. Later, they helped catch a rapist and several drug dealers.

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