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Residents should be extra vigilant when it comes to home security because detectives think "serial burglars" are at work throughout the county.
The Shelby County Sheriff's Office wants to put the word out that people should be aware that residential burglaries have increased significantly over the past few months.
Detective Jason Rice said that although the crimes have not occurred in any part of the county, but Finchville, the Aiken Road area and Waddy have seen more home burglaries than any other area.
And the burglary spree is not confined to Shelby County.
"We've found that it's not in any one particular place, or even in any one county," he said. "We think several different serial burglar groups are working in different areas. Some could be even be working together."
Rice said he couldn't be specific about how many more burglaries have been committed than last year at this time because he doesn't have all the information compiled yet.
"There could even be more than we know about because some people may not have reported it," he said. "But even though we don't have all the facts and figures yet, we wanted to go ahead and put this out there so people could be
aware of the situation and take measures to protect their homes and their property."
Simpsonville Police Chief Scott Chappell said that so far, his city has not experienced any more burglaries than usual.
"We're just lucky, I guess," he said. "I hope it stays that way."
Although the residential burglary rate has not been compiled yet for their city either, Shelbyville Police say the rate is not as high as in the county because
burglaries are committed much more frequently in rural areas because houses are generally more isolated and criminals prefer as few witnesses as possible.
Nevertheless, Maj. D. Goodwin said that a series of burglaries that have been plaguing the Cypress Road area have been solved with the arrest of a resident of that road.
Deran Beach, 18, was arrested Friday and charged with two counts of second-degree burglary, according to Goodwin.
Beach confessed to two break-ins, one of which was his neighbor's house across the street. Beach took a laptop computer from his neighbor's house.
In the other break-in on Bell Avenue, he broke a window out with a rock and cut his arm entering the residence. He broke a window in that incident before leaving the residence and also left behind a blood sample.
But the clue that Goodwin said gave Beach away was that after the break-in at his neighbor's, the man noticed that someone was using his laptop. He could tell, Goodwin said, because the computer was hooked up to a secure network
and could only be operated within a very specific location.
"We got a search warrant and when we entered, there was the computer, and it was still on," Goodwin said.
Beach is lodged in the Shelby County Detention Center under a $50,000 full cash bond.
Goodwin said other charges could be forthcoming for Beach.
How to protect your home
Rice said that if someone wants to burglarize your home, they will find a way to get in, but there are still some measures residents can take to minimize the threat of falling victim to burglary.
"Keep weapons and valuable jewelry locked up in a safe place," he said, adding that it's also a good idea to photograph such items and keep a record of any serial numbers.
"Also, it's a good idea to get a home security system," he said. "Even just having some signage around stating that you have a alarm system is a good deterrent."
Rice said that in many burglaries, the suspect will knock on the front door first and, if no one answers, will go to the back door to break in.
"And if someone comes to the door, they will just ask for directions or ask to use the phone or something like that," he said. "And people are not aware of what's going on, but we would like to ask that if anyone has an
experience like that for them to call us."
Rice also advises people to be observant and get license numbers or descriptions of vehicles or of the person's appearance and clothing. He warns against taking any direct action, however.
"Document what you see and give us a call, but don't confront anybody because that could be dangerous," he said. "We just people to work with us to put the pieces of the puzzle together to make some arrests and get these
criminals off the street." Text Box Info How to Protect Your Home * Get a security or alarm system * Post signs saying your home has an alarm system * Lock valuables in a safe place
* Be observant and report any suspicious activity to police
* Police: 633-2326 * Sheriff: 633-4324