EUGENE, Ore. — In this day and age, cell phone apps like Zillow or Trulia can help make house hunting a lot more convenient for the potential buyer, but it’s also giving potential criminals a roadmap for robberies.
“We had two suspects who were downloading phone apps and using that information to find homes to case and ultimately break into,” said Debbie Janecek, Crime Prevention Unit Manager.
But those suspects, 35-year-old Janny Sumnall and 39-year-old Samuel Kinser have been caught.
“The story broke when one of the victims observed one of his stolen appliances on Craigslist for sale,” said Detective Brian Holmberg, Eugene Police Department.
Detectives recovered thousands of dollars worth of stolen property, but for many of the victims the damage is done. The moral of the story is take the necessary precautions to protect yourself.
When it comes to where you live, most people enjoy the quiet. But when it comes to protecting the place where your heart lies, it’s best to make its beat heard.
“Lights on timers in the inside of the home will go a long way. Sound on timers like talk radio make the home appear as if someone is still there,” Debbie Janecek said.
Other helpful tips include:
-Motion sensor exterior lighting
-Locked doors and windows
-Trimmed shrubs and other landscaping so they can’t be used as hiding places
-An alarm system
-Let your neighbors know what to expect while you’re away.
“If a house is for sale or going to be vacant for an extended period of time, just make sure you have someone who’s going to be checking in on the house,” Holmberg said.
Detectives say some neighbors actually spoke with the suspects and were told they were there cleaning. So, letting your neighbors know if things like this will be happening will allow them to report anything they find suspicious.