The Victim: Gil Buchheit
The Crime: Burglary
Date: Tuesday, Oct. 5
Time: 10:30 a.m.
Location: 8600 block of Lockhaven

The suspects tried to smoke marijuana in Burger King.

The surveillance video said it all. Gil Buchheit knew exactly who was on the screen at the neighborhood Burger King. And it was a dropped hamburger that led to the arrest in this “Whopper” of a crime spree.

Buchheit’s bit of detective work began on the night of Oct. 5. He came home to find the glass on the back door broken and tools scattered near the entrance of his L Streets neighborhood home.

“They tried to kick in the back door and couldn’t, so they broke the glass on the door and crawled in,” he says.

Gone was his 56-inch TV, perfect for watching college and pro football on weekends.

“They stole it at a very untimely moment, with the Rangers going to the playoffs,” he says.

And while his TV would not be returned, some sharp eyes and smart thinking would help lead Buchheit and a friend to the actual burglars.

“What led us to them was that they threw a Burger King hamburger down in the yard,” he says. “And one of my friends just happened to be walking down the driveway, and found a Burger King receipt.”

The investigation then ramped up. The receipt had the same date as the crime, and Buchheit and his friend drove to the restaurant. The men asked if they could review the day’s security video at the time printed on the receipt. As the video rolled, Buchheit recognized a woman who had worked for him as a housecleaner about a year ago. They also were able to get a description of a man who was with her only a short time before the burglary.

“The manager said he remembered them distinctly because they tried to smoke pot in the dining area,” Buchheit says.

Buchheit says he learned that she had not lived at her previous address in more than a year, and that she allegedly began using drugs. He then took all his information to the police, who began to monitor the suspect. His work paid off, and may have prevented further crimes.

“They put her on surveillance, and then arrested her,” he says. “They caught her and some other guys in another burglary.”

The resolution of the events turned out perfectly, Buchheit says, despite the loss of his property.

“I didn’t get my TV back, but getting them caught made my day.”

Dallas Police Lt. Mackie D. Ham of the Northeast Patrol Division applauds Buchheit’s tenacity in the case.

“His detective work was outstanding,” Ham says. “By finding out who this was, our undercover officers worked the case, and viewed the suspects commit another burglary offense. Once arrested, the suspects admitted to six or seven other burglaries. His follow-up allowed detectives to gain the identification of the suspects, and we tracked them for several days until they committed another offense.”

Those who find that their homes have been broken into are advised not to touch or disturb anything until officers arrive and process the scene.

“Very often, we are able to get prints that allow us to file on these individuals,” Ham says.