When Barbara Richardson arrived at her Gwinnett County home at about 6 p.m. Monday, she immediately knew something wasn't right. Once she got inside, she saw the pantry door was open and she knew it hadn’t been like that when she left in the morning. She peeped around the corner into her living room and her fears were confirmed.
“The first thing I saw was the flat screen was gone from the wall in the living room,” she said. “They took all the TVs and remotes, lots of jewelry, my daughter’s radio that she got for Christmas, my laptop, webcam – they even took my son’s ADHD medicine.”
Richardson had been the victim of a daylight burglary. She said the burglars appeared to know what was valuable and what wasn’t, taking a valuable sculpture and her wedding ring along with other technology products. Richardson said she wanted to warn people in the neighborhood to be aware that this had happened. She lives in the Firethorn North subdivision off Rosebud and Temple Johnson Road in Loganville.
“I even had a security alarm system with the sign in the front yard like they tell you to,” Richardson said. However, she had forgotten to alarm it when she left in the morning. “They got in through the back window. They tore the screen and popped the lock – pushed down the top and got in that way. The doors all have security locks, but they left the back door wide open.”
Richardson said a neighbor across the street said he thought he heard something at about 2 p.m. but didn’t go and check. When his wife came home, she didn’t notice that Richardson's gate was open, which she told Richardson she would have done. The yard service had come to work in the neighbor’s yard at about 2:30 p.m. and Richardson said they believe that might have disturbed the burglars.
“There was one TV outside the window, covered with a blanket, like they were coming back for it,” she said. “The desktop also had been dismantled, like they intended to take it. They took the stereo.”
Richardson said the whole incident has left her feeling completely violated.
“That someone was in my house without being invited in, going through all my stuff, that’s exactly how I feel - like I was violated,” Richardson said.
Gwinnett Police had come out and gone through everything and walked through the home with Richardson. She filed an insurance claim, but wanted to warn everybody to be extra vigilant.
“I wanted to let people know that this is happening, even in the middle of the day,” Richardson said.
Gwinnett County Police said they hadn’t noticed a spate of similar burglaries in that area - at least not at this time. The county website, however, does give some tips on how to reduce the risk of becoming the victim of a burglary.
- Purchase an alarm system for your home or business and use it whenever you're away. It is also a good idea to have your home alarm activated while you're asleep.
- Install motion sensor lights at the front and rear of your home or business.
- Make sure you keep your doors and windows locked. Do not hide a key outside of your home, because criminals know all the places that you can think of to hide it.
- Install double keyed deadbolt locks on all exterior doors if there is a window within arms reach of the interior lock. Make sure you keep a key readily available near each door in the event of a fire.
- Make sure that you pick-up your mail and newspapers on a daily basis. If you're not going to be at home for a few days or longer, arrange to have someone you trust pick-up your mail and newspapers every day.
- Keep the shrubbery and trees located next to your windows cut down so that criminals will not have a place to hide while they are prying open your window.
- When you're going to be away from home on vacation put several interior lights on a timer, making sure you set them to go on and off at different times.
- Make sure your neighbors know to call the police immediately if they see any suspicious activity at your home.