CLEARWATER, Fla. - Clearwater police are sounding the alarm about a rash of break-ins. Already, crooks have targeted nearly three-dozen homes. Police arrested four suspects so far, but investigators fear there are more out there plotting their next move.
Oscar Long was out running errands a couple weeks ago. He returned home to find his place on Margo Street had been burglarized. "I felt really bad. It's not something you want to happen to you and stuff. It's like an invasion of your privacy."
This invasion started, Long says, when the burglars came in through his bathroom window. He has an alarm, but it wasn't on. Long said, "They just took some change. Car keys. They took my extra set of car keys and house key."
But, it's what they didn't grab that he finds strange. Long said, "There was $100 that was kind of sitting around. There were games. There were laptops, computers, TV's. There's cameras. Digital cameras."
Long is not alone. Since late September, police say someone broke into 33 homes in the North Greenwood, Old Clearwater Bay and Kings Highway areas, taking everything from jewelry to stereos, TV's, money and guns. Most of the crimes happened in the afternoon or early evening.
Joelle Castelli spokesperson for the Clearwater Police Department, said, "Someone will go to the front door and knock. If there's no answer at the house, then somebody will go around back and look for an open window or open door or smash out a window or break in a window to get to the door and then take similar items."
Since the break-in, Long changed his locks. His neighbors installed these cameras because of the crime. Now, Long says, the first thing he does when he leaves home is turn on the alarm system.
If you have any information about these crimes, you're asked to call the Clearwater Police Department.