Thieves use trick in Tampa burglary spree

Posted at 4:56 PM, Apr 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-27 20:02:27-04

Tampa Police believe they've ended a 10-day, 6-home residential burglary spree when an arrest was made on Tuesday.

Police say the thieves were roaming the Seminole Heights neighborhood and using a relatively simple trick to find who was home and who wasn't.

Kinshad Hamilton was one of three people captured by Tampa Police officers in a foot-race Tuesday, when a group of men fitting the description of witnesses to previous burglaries were spotted by officers.

Hamilton is now charged with burglary.  A Tampa Police spokesperson says the department expects to connect Hamilton to all six burglaries that took place relatively close to each other between April 16 and April 26.

The spokesperson says TPD expects to charge others connected to the case, as well.

Among the stolen items, says the Tampa Police Department, were TV's and electronics, as well as weapons and even antiques.

Police believe Hamilton and others were roaming the neighborhood, going door-to-door to offer grass-cutting services. Police say, in this case, the men weren't really looking to do landscaping, but rather, checking to see if someone answered the door.

The potentially-suspicious activity caught the attention of neighbors, who may have helped police make an arrest in this case.

"They started out at the end of the street and they were walking and one guy was on a phone, squirrely, looking around a lot," David Hill told ABC Action News. He says as soon as the two men turned into a neighbor's yard, a neighbor who was out of town, Hill called police.

"Saying there's two guys going into the backyard that don’t belong there and the neighbors not there and there shouldn’t be going into nobody’s backyard," Hill said.

The homeowner who was burglarized tells ABC Action News that some of her belongings were dropped behind her home by the thieves as they were chased away by police.

Hill says it happened at around 2 p.m. and he was happy to help his neighbor.

"Every body works hard for their money and don’t want nobody to take advantage of it," said Hill.


Prevention Tips from Tampa Police:

• Write down or take pictures of electronics, jewelry or any prized possessions you may have. (Include the serial number and a detailed description)
• If you have a camera system installed please make sure you routinely check to make sure it's working properly.
• Keep your valuables out of Plain Sight!
• Secure any firearm that is left at the property by placing it in a location not common for thieves to look in. Also makes sure you have several pictures and the serial number for your weapon and proper documentation.
- Install motion sensors on outdoor lights that turn on automatically if someone triggers them.
- Make sure your home is visible from the street. Cut back shrubbery to provide a clear view of your home.
- Open garage doors advertise what belongings you have, which increases the likelihood of theft. (Keep your garage door closed at all times)