WICHITA, Kansas – Police are investigating a string of residential burglaries that has hit a portion of the west side of town, hitting more than a dozen homes, including four on Thursday.
The break-ins are fairly similar. They take place in broad daylight, with the suspects forcing entry through the front door and taking TV’s, electronics and jewelry, police said. Most of them are taking place in a two square mile area between 21st and Central from north to south, and between Ridge and Tyler from east to west.
One victim said he came back from work, only to find his front door open.
“It was just, saw it open and the framing on the floor, and the TV, noticed it was gone, so at that point it was, ‘Do I go into the house or do you back out?’” Kirk Peterson said.
His TV and other electronics were stolen. He ended up boarding the inside of his front door to keep his family safe.
“I had to take the handle off to shut it last night, and feel somewhat secure,” Peterson said. “You get that eerie feeling of how do I go to sleep knowing that somebody else was in my house.”
Three of the burglaries took place at homes near Ridge Road, and a fourth that is believed to be connected happened on Doris Street, near Central and West.
Neighbors reported unknown people ringing doorbells or knocking on doors in the area around the time of the burglaries. Some are taking extra precautions to stay safe. One of the other victims who did not want to be identified said he was spending the day installing deadbolts at his home as a result of the burglary. Others are worried for their safety.
“Well, it makes you a little uncomfortable, and you know, you get kind of complacent about being safe, probably, not thinking it’ll be you, but when you see it up the street, it could be,” Barbara Grier, a neighbor, said.
Police tell KSN they noticed the trend about six weeks ago, finding 14 similar break-ins. About three weeks ago, they arrested a suspect for three of the burglaries. But a relative period of calm was broken by the four burglaries on Thursday.
Police advise residents in the area to call 911 if they see any suspicious activity.