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How to catch a burglar?


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  • How to catch a burglar?

    My beat is having a problem with a single burglar (victims totaling in the 20s, all linked by MO of entry/things removed, plus items of evidentiary value left behind). Despite our best efforts of saturation patrols during the times he strikes in that area, we've come up with nothing.

    The department has gone to great extremes too; going to the media with press releases and patrol has dropped leaflets in the mailboxes of area residents, all to no avail. About every week, another burg is reported. Two of which have been in progress, where the suspect was last seen leaving on foot. And of course, K9 fails to track.

    Even the number of field interviews of possible suspects stopped is minimal at best. We've gotten a couple of leads, but our UCs have followed their daily routines for days without anything questionable.

    Any ideas?

    Is this really about luck and/or waiting for the right inprogress call? Or is there anything else that patrol can do to 'encourage' a lockup?

  • #2
    Yes, order him to come out with his hands up!


    • #3
      Funny you should bring this up. We are having the same problem right now. And we even know who the guy is! He lives in an apartment building and robs people of cash only. This way we cant trace him back to an object. The one eye witness that actually saw the guy doing it didn't ID him correctly in a line up

      I think he got spooked though because there have been no reports in the past couple weeks. Good luck to you.
      It's 106 miles to Chicago, we've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses....Hit it!


      • #4
        1. Take a look at who is on parole for burglary in your area. That has always worked best for me.

        2. Send a teletype to all the surrounding PD's. Perhaps they have a burglary series with like MO's. They might even have some clues.

        I must asume there are no prints or if there are, they are not in the system. If that is the case maybe you suspect is a juvenile? Are these daytime burgs? if so, check with the schools & see who has been absent on the days of the burgs & look for a pattern. I've solved a few that way too.


        • #5
          Sounds like you are doing all the right things, but as always, you can't always be in the right place at the right time. Sometimes bad guys know our schedules and routines and can peg us and anticipate what we're going to do and when. If you're not already doing so, maybe mixing things up and keeping the bad guys guessing will help. If nothing else, keep in mind that bad guys are not smart and they usually can't keep their mouths shut. They all mess up sooner or later!


          • #6
            I think luck is 99% responsible for catching these guys in the act. Any burglar with half a brain will be long gone well before the alarm co. notifies the dept of an activated alarm.

            Your only hope is that someone sees him, reports it, and gets you something to work with.

            Chances are that it's a juvenile if this is continually done in the same area, at least according to the book I just read for the sgt. test.

            Good luck man.
            Last edited by cleetus0219; 03-06-2005, 07:18 PM.


            • #7
              [QUOTE=Stan Switek]1. Take a look at who is on parole for burglary in your area. That has always worked best for me.

              adult and juvenile probation too.

              check pawn shops, see if dummy leaves his/her name behind.

              look for trends dates/times/areas of activity, deploy a surveillance vehicle out there in the mix of activity, if something is seen notify the uniforms to make stops for FI's,

              sweat people in the area - get a CI....
              ''Life's tough......it's tougher if you're stupid.''
              -- John Wayne


              • #8
                If he's hitting the same area, some plainclothes guys in unmarked cars might help. I don't mean unmarked Crown Victorias with spotlights and poverty hubcaps, I mean true undercover cars.

                When I was on the Mounted Unit, we were part of Special Operations Unit (SOU), which would send guys out in plainclothes, driving POS Camrys and things like that. All the SOU people would take turns doing it, so I got to do it a few times. We actually had a real taxi, one guy would drive, and the other would play the drunk fare in the back seat. You wouldn't believe some of the stuff we came across doing that.
                Talk sense to a fool, and he will call you foolish - Euripides


                • #9
                  Can your frequency be scanned? If he is hitting in the same area with great frequency he is either confident or stupid. meaning he is either a pro with a scanner or a dumb kid.

                  You will catch him eventually. let us know how it turns out.
                  Originally posted by FJDave
                  GM, you have just set the bar that much higher for the rest of us in our witty, sarcastic responses. I yield to you! Good job, kind Sir!

                  District B13
                  "We are not cops nor Feds." yet he still poses as an officer Hmmmm

                  Grant us grace, fearlessly, to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression.--WWII memorial

                  "I have loved justice and hated iniquity, therefore I die in exile."

                  Pope Gregory V II


                  • #10
                    Delta 784 has the right idea. I use to work in an unit that did it. You let the plain clothes officers respond to the calls. Let them look for a possible suspect walking around or leaving the scene. Don't have them driving around though. If your burglar is familar with the area he will realize the vehicles traveling around. Place them stationary in areas where the suspect has been seen. It actually helps to pull the marked cars out of the area when then are set up. If the suspect sees marked cars he may not strike or may move to another area. Good old fashion police work will also help. Ask some of the homeless or prostitues who's doing it. Most of them will talk if you "ask" them right.


                    • #11
                      I would have responding units start looking for someone who does not look like a burglar. For example, years ago there was a guy who was breaking into homes in several large adjoining LA area cities. He always wore a suit and tie and carried a briefcase to hide his loot in. Responding units frequently stopped him, not as a suspect, but to ask him if he had seen anyone suspicious in the neighborhood. Because of his dress and demeanor, they never even remotely suspected he was the burglar.

                      Other things are also dead give aways to a crook. The racing engine noise from responding units can carry long distances, particularly in the middle of the night, and be a better warning to the crook than an approaching siren. Ditto for squealing brakes and closing doors on arriving units. Even if the bad guy has left the scene, the sounds made by approaching and arriving units can give him a good idea as to the safest direction to travel to avoid police contact.
                      Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere


                      • #12
                        Are these all residential burglaries? What time of day? Small stuff or larger items?


                        • #13
                          We had the same problem at my agency in NJ back around 1989. We ended up working a lot of overtime after dark wearing our tactical uniforms, and bascially hiding in the bushes and on rooftops all over town watching for anything suspicious. We ended up catching the guy within the week based on his M/O.
                          If it wasn't for STUPID PEOPLE I'd be unemployed.


                          • #14
                            Has any of the property turned up anywhere?

                            Maybe put some bike cops in the area during his strike times?, no engine noise, higher likelihood of apprehension on foot.
                            Do you realize that in about 40 years, we'll have thousands of old ladies running around with tattoos?
                            Common sense... the LEAST COMMON of all of the senses.
                            Why are hemorrhoids called "hemorrhoids" instead of "assteroids"?


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Delta784
                              If he's hitting the same area, some plainclothes guys in unmarked cars might help. I don't mean unmarked Crown Victorias with spotlights and poverty hubcaps, I mean true undercover cars.
                              Delta cracks me up.

                              As was mentioned, check your FI's against burglary charges and also check for Meth arrests in the area, we all know they go hand in hand.

                              if you have a pawn shop detail cross reference with active pawners in your areas as well. always been good luck with me.
                              Peace by power


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