VICTIM: Derek (last name withheld by request)

 

DATE: Thursday, Aug. 25

 

TIME: Between 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

 

PLACE: 9000 block of Larchwood

 

 

          It wasn’t exactly a Welcome Wagon.

 

          On Wednesday, Aug. 24, Derek* — renting from a friend — moved into his new house. The next day, they were robbed.

 

          According to the victims, the suspect or suspects scaled their six-foot-plus back fence (the gates were padlocked) and kicked open a set of French doors.

 

          “We could see where they’d gone through the bushes and hopped the fence,” Derek says.

 

          More than $2,000 worth of property was stolen, including two firearms — a shotgun and .40-caliber Glock — a Canon digital camera, their entire DVD collection, a few bottles of wine and a bottle of whiskey. The thieves also went through drawers presumably looking for cash, but when they were unable to find any, they settled for the change containers on the residents’ nightstands.

 

          A large rug also is missing, and Derek speculates the thieves used it to wrap up their stolen loot.

 

          What they didn’t take, he says, were heavier items such as the stereo equipment he hadn’t even had a chance to hook up yet. 

 

“It seemed like they knew what they were looking for. They got things that didn’t weigh as much.”

 

The victim thinks the presence of his moving van the day before the burglary probably attracted the burglars’ attention, perhaps giving them (or a single perpetrator) a chance to case his possessions prior to breaking in.

 

          Since the burglary, the roommates have spoken to a few neighbors to find out if this kind of thing happens often in their new neighborhood. One said he was robbed around 10 years ago. Another had been robbed fairly recently but never filed a report.

 

          Still, the men aren’t taking any chances. They’ve ordered a security service with motion sensors.

 

“It’s the only way you’re going to stop them from walking around and looking for what they want,” Derek says.

 

They’re also considering buying a gun safe — which is probably good news to the Dallas Police Department. Derek says the police — who came out and fingerprinted the crime scene but haven’t made any arrests so far — were particularly concerned about the firearms theft.

 

“They wanted us to try and track down the [gun’s serial] numbers and anything else on them,” says Derek, who notes that the guns belonged to his roommate.

 

Officer Keith Allen of the DPD’s Central Division says theft of guns is a big “red flag” to the police.

 

“Any time a firearm is stolen, it’s usually eventually used for some sort of violent criminal episode,” he says. “And the fact that it’s stolen makes it that much more difficult to trace.

 

          “We cannot let firearms be stolen,” he says, “without making serious efforts to recover them.”

 

          To help in those efforts, Allen stresses that, just like with any item of value in a house — TVs, DVD players — people ought to keep serial numbers in a secure place.

 

“Ultimately, that’s one of the surest ways we can return it back to its owners,” he says.

 

Allen says if you have guns that are insured on your homeowner’s policy but are unsure of serial numbers, check with your insurance agent — those numbers might be noted in your file.

 

          Even more important? Keeping firearms from being stolen at all. For that reason, he encourages Derek and his roommate — and all gun owners — to keep firearms in a lockbox or safe. 

 

          “It’s incumbent upon all owners of firearms to show due diligence,” he says. “I just can’t emphasize it enough — when a weapon is inside a residence, it needs to be secured.”

 

 

 * — NOTE: This crime victim asked us not to use his last name.