The Victim: Beth Oates
The Crime: Burglary of a garage
Date: Monday, August 15
Time: 1 p.m.
Location: 10600 block of Lemans

Police pounced and clicked on the cuffs.

The scene was quite unexpected. Several police officers were gathered in Betty Oates’ front yard, including a couple of undercover officers in shorts and T-shirts. This was one time when the good guys won.

“I was at work and got a call that afternoon from the Dallas Police Department,” Oates says. “They were at our house and said that they had apprehended someone who had stolen some things from our house. He had jumped a 10-foot fence and entered a detached garage. Police caught him as he left with the equipment out the back gate.”

The burglar had his arms full of power tools that were pretty handy for the Oates. They had recently built shelves in their garage and added a couple of game tables. She says the idea of someone taking her property was frustrating.

But luckily in this case, a quick-thinking neighbor had seen the suspicious man walking through the neighborhood and called police. Oates says she was told that in cases like this, undercover police often follow a suspect to see if he attempts a crime. Police spotted him scaling the fence of Oates’ L Streets neighborhood home, and were able to make an arrest after he committed the crime. Police says her garage did not have a lock and that her gate only locked from the inside, a problem that Oates quickly remedied.

“Of course, I immediately went to Lowes and bought some new locks,” she says.

The good news — the burglar went to jail and Oates’ belongings were returned.

Dallas Police Sr. Cpl. Geoff Pettay of the Northeast Patrol Division says this is a perfect example of how important it is to have active crime watch groups.

“We regularly take calls regarding suspicious vehicles or people. We do have undercover police officers driving around the division when these calls come in to drive around the area and locate the target,” he says. “The marked squad cars will wait until the undercover officers notify them as to what the status is on the target.

“We are 100 percent more successful in preventing crime with the help of the community. Calls like these are what we need from the community in order to do a better job in serving the community.”


Businesses were burglarized at Royal and Skillman.


Individuals were robbed along Forest between Plano and LBJ Freeway.


Aggravated assaults occurred in Vickery Meadows.

• Source: Dallas Police Department crime stats for Aug. 13-Sept. 13

Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer and editor of If you have been a recent crime victim, email