BOISE - Boise Police are cautioning residents to be on the alert after three homes in northwest Boise were burglarized early this week.
Police say the burglaries occurred in the daytime, with the latest one happening Tuesday. All were reported in an area between Hill Road and State Street, with Gary Lane on the west.
"We have neighbors that work in their home and were right here, and it was obviously a quiet, undisturbing kind of intrusion," said neighbor Angelee Scott. "If that can happen right there, it just makes you feel vulnerable."
At this point, police are unsure if the crimes are connected, but say there are some similarities such as when and how the crimes occurred.
During Tuesday’s burglary, the thieves reportedly took jewelry, iPods, laptops and some money from an unlocked house. The victims in that case told KTVB their home had been ransacked, and it appeared the burglar or burglars were in a hurry.
In the other burglaries, the thieves kicked in doors to get inside the homes.
"It's an awful feeling to have your home broken into," said BPD deputy chief William Bones. "Victims of home burglaries understandably feel violated, even angry at the loss of valuable or sentimental possessions."
Person of Interest
Investigators say they're looking for two persons of interest in the case. The men are described as being in the low to mid twenties and were seen riding mountain bikes in the area the burglaries occurred. One man is believed to be light-skinned with sandy blonde hair in a pony tail. The other has darker skin with short black hair in a pony tail. Both were wearing button-down, collared shirts and khaki pants.
Possible 'Solicitor' Connection
Neighbors reported to police that two young men matching the above description knock on doors and offer free carpet cleaning. However, when questioned about their activities, they quickly leave.
A white Ford cargo van with California plates has also been spotted in the area and is possibly connected to the crimes, police said.
A neighborhood contact officer received a call about a solicitor before the most recent burglary and contacted more than two dozen homeowners in the area.
"We're working to find those responsible," said Bones. "But these cases remind us all how important it is to keep our homes secure and know what kinds of activity to watch for that may threaten the safety of our neighborhood."
Neighbors are urged to call police if they see anything suspicious.
Boise Police offered up these tips to avoid becoming a burglary victim:
Dealing with Solicitors
- All legitimate solicitors must have a Boise city-issued solicitors license like the one pictured. Licenses have the seller's individual photo as well as the city logo.
- Do not allow or invite solicitors into your home. They can conduct business on your doorstep, and they do not need to assess your belongings.
- Ask to see a city-issued license to sell. It must be on their person and in plain view. They must be honest about who they are and what they are trying to sell.
- Ask for written information about the company. Let them know that you will be doing research on that company before purchasing any of their products.
- Be cautious about giving out any personal or financial information without being certain of the product and the seller's intentions.
- Report aggressive or suspicious solicitors to law enforcement immediately by calling police dispatch at 911. Provide a description of the solicitor and what direction they were headed.
- Alert other neighbors in the immediate area. If you have a neighborhood watch, immediately contact your chairperson who can notify the other residents of this activity.
Daytime Home Security
- Keep exterior doors and windows locked, including both bay and side garage doors.
- Turn off outside lights (not motion sensors).
- Make the home look occupied by picking up your newspaper, tilting open your blinds, and consider leaving a radio on while you're gone.
- Keep landscape trimmed to prevent hiding places.
- Don't leave spare house keys under a flower pot or doormat. Instead, give a spare to a trusted neighbor or friend.
Home Security Survey
- Boise Police crime prevention experts will, by appointment, come to your home for a security assessment. For more information, click here.