Willits home, burglarized once, targeted twice, spurs watch effort
October 2, 2009
BASALT – A house in Basalt’s Willits neighborhood was hit by burglars once and unsuccessfully targeted a second time last month, according to police.
The owners weren’t home when the house was hit in the early morning hours of Sept. 19, according to Basalt Police Chief Keith Ikeda. He wouldn’t discuss what was stolen because the case is under investigation.
The same house was targeted again on Sept. 27, but the break-in was foiled.
“They were home the second time and kind of spooked them off,” Ikeda said.
The homeowners called 911, and police arrived within minutes, he said. The would-be burglars fled. Ikeda said investigators are pursuing various leads and have suspects.
The fact that the same place got hit twice suggests it was the same burglars. “Out of 100 homes there, this was the only one that got hit,” Ikeda said.
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He said investigators are trying to determine why the suspects targeted the victims.
The Willits neighborhood of single-family homes actually has 150 members, according to Brenda Wild, the president of the single-family homeowners’ association. She said the burglaries have spurred an effort that was already under way to start a Neighborhood Watch group.
“It’s a little shocking,” Wild said of the burglaries. “We’re not immune to what happens in the rest of the world.”
The homeowners’ association invited members to supply their phone numbers for a phone bank as part of the Neighborhood Watch. Residents will notify neighbors when they leave for an extended time, and the neighbors will keep an eye on the house. The program also features signs posted on streets alerting would-be burglars or other sketchy characters that residents are watching.
Ikeda said Neighborhood Watch signs have proven to be an effective deterrent in other places, and having neighbors formally looking out for one another is always a good idea.
Wild said there has been a good response to the proposal.
“We’re trying, really on all levels, to get more of a community feel,” she said.