As summer winds down and daylight hours start to get shorter, organized criminals often use the cover of darkness to break into homes.
An analysis by a leading insurance company found that August is the most likely month for home burglaries and Friday is the most frequent day of the week.
Burglars are well aware that more and more employees are taking Fridays off and heading to the cottage.
However, today’s sophisticated burglars are so brazen they’re even playing their dirty tricks in broad daylight.
A family living on Lakeshore Road in Burlington was a major victim in May when approximately $250,000 worth of jewellery was stolen from the home.
Security video at the residence showed a female at the front door carrying flyers. She knocked, and after receiving no response, walked towards the side of the residence where entry was gained through a basement window.
She then exited the front door and walked down the driveway when a beige van pulled in front of the residence. Two people then entered the home through the front door, proceeded to the master bedroom and broke into locked drawers.
Members of the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau identified suspects and located the vehicle believed to have been involved in the break and enter.
Later, in June, police conducted mobile surveillance on the suspects who were now operating a grey Honda van.
Throughout the day, the suspects were followed to various affluent neighborhoods in Burlington and Oakville. On several occasions, two females were seen leaving the vehicle on foot carrying flyers. They were observed walking up to several homes and into backyards before returning to the van.
The vehicle was stopped by police and three persons were arrested. A search of the vehicle resulted in the recovery of stolen jewellery valued at approximately $60,000 which was stolen during a break-in on The Links Dr. in Oakville.
Investigators also executed search warrants at two Etobicoke residences and seized a quantity of jewellery, cash, clothing worn and a vehicle used during the May break and enter in Burlington.
During the search warrant, an additional arrest was made in relation to possession of property obtained by crime.
Janina Ferko, 66, Jacek Jedynak, 27 and Sandra Talar, 26, all have been charged with two counts of break, enter and theft, possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000 and five counts of attempted break and enter. Robert Talar, 66, has been charged with possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000.
All of the accused, who are from Etobicoke, have been released on bail pending a date for trial.
The investigation is ongoing and further charges are expected.
In August of 2013, there also was a series of 16 burglaries in Burlington, Oakville and Milton. As a result, three Toronto men were arrested.
Other criminals are choosing to prey on families in grief. They read obituaries in the newspaper to check the dates of funerals, then break into homes when those families are at the service.
A Milton man returned from his father’s funeral to find his house cleaned out.
Halton residents also are being warned that criminals posing as water board officials could try and sneak into homes. Offenders call and say they are from the water board, asking you to turn off the water and then steal from your property.
The most daring home burglary occurred in Burlington a few years ago when a burglar actually gained entry to a home in daylight, hid in a closet until family members came home, then waited until dark when they went to bed to steal items and escape.
Police urge everybody to keep a record of serial numbers and descriptions of their household possessions. They will even lend citizens an electronic engraving pencil so that they can engrave their name, thus making it easy for police to confirm the owners if they are stolen.
They also warn residents to secure locks, not to leave notes on the door, keep their garages locked and secure their gas barbecue with a chain and padlock
When going on vacation, they say, it’s also a good idea to use automatic timers that turn lights on and off, have a neighbor pick up newspapers and mail and arrange to have a neighbor park their car in your driveway to make the home look lived-in.
Anyone with information into the break and enters that have taken place in Burlington this summer is asked to contact the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4747 Ext. 2312.
By: Denis Gibbons