Man pleads guilty to burglarizing Indianapolis neighborhood
An east Indianapolis neighborhood scored a small victory against crime when a burglar pleaded guilty Tuesday morning.
Mitchell Matlock was captured in photographs burglarizing a home in the Brookside Park neighborhood in October. He was arrested, in part, after neighbors in the area started a crime watch program to work with IMPD to stop burglaries in their community.
Homeowner David Kathan set up a security camera in his living room. It wasn't the first time Matlock stole from his house.
"It was the result of being broken into multiple times. Every time, I increased the security around my house and finally put the video surveillance in there," Kathan said.
Matlock pleaded guilty to burglary Tuesday morning. He also admitted to burglarizing a total of 92 homes in the Brookside neighborhood alone between July 2012 and March of this year.
"Neighborhood people didn't feel safe. They moved out of their homes. He terrorized that neighborhood," said prosecutor Daphne Whitmire.
Prosecutors cut a deal with Matlock, 24 years in prison for three counts of burglary. He had little to say to the Brookside community.
"No. I don't feel like I terrorized," he said.
Members of the newly-formed North Brookside Park Neighborhood Organization were in the courtroom to hear Matlock's plea. Dave Robbins wore a specially-designed Brookside t-shirt to show support for his beloved neighborhood.
"The group that came out of it, there are some really good people," Robbins said.
Since the rash of burglaries, the neighborhood organization has done two neighborhood clean-ups, making streets and alleys look less neglected. They've also worked to make renters feel more connected and the group is counting the number of abandoned homes, so it can form a strategy for redevelopment.
Many of the neighbors are also connected online at NextDoor.com, a private social network that allows them to post information about what's happening near their homes.
With Matlock behind bars, neighbors say they'll work even harder to keep crime away from their neighborhood.
"I think the attitude has changed in the neighborhood to get this thing we don't want in our neighborhood out," Kathan said.