Friday, July 16, 2010
Wichita police say it happens almost everyday - a burglar breaks into a home with the homeowner inside. That may sound like a high number, but it's far below the number of burglaries police investigate every month in which homeowners are absent.
Kyle Young, 22, was asleep in his apartment in the 1300 block of S. Bleckley when he says somebody kicked in his back door. He showed KAKE News the damage left behind.
"This was completely shattered," Young said, pointing to the door's newly replaced frame. "It was off the hinge and on the floor. Just a mess of debris everywhere."
Hard to miss were two bullet holes in the attached screen door, fired from Young's own Glock 22 handgun. It's the first time since buying the gun two years ago that Young has had to use it in self defense.
"By the way he was running, I didn't hit him," Young told KAKE News. "I didn't want to hurt him, but I didn't want him to come back."
Young says he didn't recognize the suspect.
Police say most burglars aim to strike when your home is vacant. But every now and then, some hit when the homeowner is present. Police say in those instances, burglars almost always make the mistake of thinking they have the house to themselves.
Thursday night into Friday morning, police responded to a handful of break-ins in which the homeowners - and the burglars - were caught off guard.
Police say they have no indication Young's burglary - or any of the following - are connected.
Around midnight, crooks smashed a window to a home in the 4800 block of S. Millwood. They ran after realizing a woman was home. Police say she hid in the bathroom for safety.
In another instance, a man and woman in the 600 block of W. 11th Street were injured overnight when a man broke into their home and threatened them with a knife. Four children in the home were not hurt.
In yet another case, a mother and son were home when burglars tried to kick in the front door of their house near 21st and Rock. Police in the area were able to capture two suspects.
Investigators say the best way to avoid being a victim is to think like a burglar when securing your home. That means keeping valuables away from windows where they can be easily seen, trimming back bushes around the house, and remembering to close and lock all windows and doors.
In fact, police say one of the easiest ways for a burglar to get inside your home is through the garage. Earlier this week, a family in Northeast Wichita was burglarized while they slept. Police later determined crooks came into the house through an open overhead garage door.
If you should become the victim of a burglary, police say you have a better chance of getting your belongings back if you've recorded serial numbers, taken pictures, or left an identifying mark on objects such as televisions and gaming systems.
As for Young, he hopes police can find whoever broke into his home before the suspect strikes again. It's a memory Young says he won't soon forget.
"It's terrifying," he said. "It's very terrifying. You can't even sleep."