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SPECIAL REPORT: Yuma residents experience burglary spree

CBS 13's Cody Lee takes a closer look at the cases and has advice for protecting your home and belongings

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Back in December, we told you about a string of robberies in the Ocotillo Desert subdivision near 32nd Avenue and Avenue 6E in Yuma.

The thefts took place late at night, and left homeowners feeling unsafe, and angry. Many told CBS 13, they want these criminals off the streets.

The thieves targeted vehicles throughout the subdivision. Home security systems caught several incidents on camera.

Now the Yuma Police Department (YPD) confirms the duo is bringing their signature shenanigans to new neighborhoods.

“Your neighborhood may be safe but unless there's this big brick wall surrounding your neighborhood where people are monitored going in and out. Anybody can get into that neighborhood,” said YPD's Sgt. Lori Franklin.

Several homeowners told our Cody Lee they believe the two bandits show target vehicles they can easily access under cover of night. Those homeowners declined to speak on camera, but several did share surveillance video.

The video shows the same suspects up to their same illegal tricks.

“They're not there like a long time, they're getting in there rummaging they're grabbing stuff and then they're leaving, ” Sgt. Franklin explained.

“Ocotillo was hit pretty good in December, now they are kind of merging to other neighborhoods, kind of similar in the vicinity but not right there and I mean there are burglaries that happen in different areas of town," she explained.

Another resident said the suspects got away with a weapon during one of their overnight ventures.

YPD did not confirm if the burglars are, in fact armed, but warns to take caution if you notice something suspicious.

“You don't know whether somebody sees them with a gun - do you know if that's an airsoft gun? Do you know if that's a real gun? We [YPD] don't either. We don't want to spook anybody or scare anybody but you know, at the same time, always be cautious if you catch somebody breaking into your vehicle or breaking into your home, don't approach them don't confront them,” Sgt. Franklin advised.

“Most burglars are lazy, they're not going to want to try to do jimmy into somebody's car,” Sgt. Franklin added.

Burglars are also known for smashing and grabbing.

“If they can see something right there on the seat the smash and grab is easy for them they smash the window they grab it they run. But if you're gonna leave your car unlocked they can easily open it rummage through it, they're not making any noise, make it hard lock your doors.”

There are some other ways to keep you and your neighbors safe.

  • Try creating a community Facebook group to alert residents of what's happening in the neighborhood.
  • Organize a neighborhood watch - YPD can help.
  • Be aware of your surroundings, especially late at night.
  • Install security cameras to monitor your property.

Brianna McNeely, owner of G&T Alarm Company, is someone who knows a lot about home security.

“Being smart and efficient and quick so no delays trying to get faster response and trying to make sure you know we're using the highest grades of technology,” McNeely said.

She believes being proactive is the key to protection.

“If you have a camera that's smart enough that does video analytics so it'll tell you when someone's on the property and is already sending you a text message, wherever you are. Something perhaps a two-way, audio, where you can say excuse me this is private property,” McNeely said.

And, she says, security cameras could help catch a thief.

“Letting them know they're actually being watched is, you know, a big deterrent,” McNeely explained.

So what if, in spite of your best efforts, it happens to you?

“Stop touching it. You know, close the door however you can without trying to touch important areas and call us to let us come out let us fingerprint it let's try to see if there's any evidence left behind,” Sgt. Franklin advised.

Meanwhile, the serial burglars remain at large. Surveillance video shows on thief wearing a gray hoodie, glasses, and a black face mask. Residents think one could be a younger woman, but the footage makes it hard to tell.

“At this point in time, no we don't have any leads I mean we have kind of possible descriptions of them, but with wearing masks and on the camera it is kind of hard to see you know the exact size of people, but again we're working all angles that we can with any leads that come in,” Franklin added.

YPD remains on the lookout.

“Our officers try they do try when they're not on calls for service they do try to monitor neighborhoods and try to get out there and go around, it's it's not always as easy what people think it is.” said the sergeant.

If you know anything about these suspects - you are urged to contact YPD at 928-783-4421, you can remain anonymous.

Crime / Yuma County
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Cody Lee

Cody Lee joined 13 On Your Side and KYMA News 11 in March 2020, but he’s no stranger to Arizona. He grew up in the Phoenix area and enjoys everything Arizona has to offer.

You can contact Cody at cody.lee@kecytv.com.

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