Multiple car break-ins and home burglaries in one week have a Burien neighborhood on alert.
The brazen thieves are targeting victims during the middle of the day while they’re away on a quick errand.
“They pried the windows out and the screens open, got in and got out,” said Paul Carlson, whose home was burglarized Monday.
Carlson went to the Post Office for 45 minutes and returned to his home ransacked. They took electronics and his wife’s priceless jewelry.
“Even if we get some insurance back, it’s never going to be able to replace grandma’s necklace,” he said.
Crooks hit at least four homes and broke into five cars around the same block near 12th Ave South and South 129th Street.
They also stole the neighborhood’s assumption that they’re safe in their own homes.
“It’s the insecurity you’ve put into the people now who don’t know they’re safe and who don’t know when or if this is going to happen,” said Carlson.
Since the crimes, Dorothy Wolf is now called “Grandma Watch.” She keeps a close watch for strangers in the area that don’t belong.
“You can see them, they just walk up and down the street really slow just looking at the houses,” said Wolf.
As a result of what’s happened, neighbors say they’re communicating more. Sean Merkel says it sends a strong message to thieves.
“They’re going to realize there are a lot more eyes around here than they thought,” said Merkel.
From upgrading his security system, to trimming his hedges and installing motion sensors, Carlson says he plans to be extra vigilant.
“We’re now worried that there are people watching when we leave, when we come back, casing this area, “he said.
A common concern neighbors have is police response time. It took an officer almost 30 minutes to respond to Carlson’s house after he realized he was burglarized. A community meeting is in the works to find a solution and stop the crime.