FISHERS, Ind — Police in Hamilton County are on the lookout for professional burglars who have targeted at least two neighborhoods there recently.
"It's kind of scary we have something like that going on in our little town in Indiana," said Kevin Bennett.
Bennett and his neighbors in the Masthead and Hamilton Proper communities are taking extra precautions to protect their homes after a string of burglaries in the area.
"We are nervous about it and we are extremely watchful," said Bennett.
Fishers police said the crimes aren't your typical burglaries. The break-ins are committed by what police describe as a sophisticated theft ring from South America.
"They travel throughout the country and hit higher-end neighborhoods and homes," said Fishers Police Sgt. Tom Weger. "They are specifically looking for jewelry, cash and guns."
Weger said the group does its homework and cases potential targets. Most of the burglaries occur during the late evening hours while the homeowners are away.
"Take simple precautions," Weger said. "Don't leave your trash can out. You want to give the appearance that you are there. These suspects and normal residential burglars they are not wanting to meet you. They want to ensure you are not in the home prior to breaking in."
Fishers Police also offer these tips:
- Install exterior lights at all entrances. Consider motion detector lights.
- Install a wide-angle viewer on all exterior doors.
- Check who is at the door and do not open it to anyone you don’t know.
- Install good locks on all doors and windows. Use those locks!
- Be sure locks on doors and windows can be opened quickly in case of fire.
- Leave a light on when you are not home. If you are on vacation, use a timer to control lighting.
- Don’t hide keys outside.
As for Bennett, he's happy to see an increase in police patrols and is doing his part.
"We are pretty wary about it," he said. "We converse with all our neighbors. We are all friends. We are very very watchful with what's going on. We have an alarm system, we have cameras and we have dogs."
Police are asking neighbors in these two communities to call the them if they spot any suspicious activities. That takes many forms, they said, including people walking casually through the neighborhood looking into windows, backyards and vehicles. A vehicle driving slowly through your neighborhood or parks near a home. Something wakes you in the night and someone you don’t know ringing your doorbell.