WICHITA, Kansas – Burglaries are notoriously hard crimes to solve. But one man tells KSN he gave law enforcement everything they needed to catch the people who broke into his home, and yet, his case remains unsolved, more than a year later.
David Birmingham said in April 2013, burglars walked off with about $30,000 worth of his property. Luckily, he was able to capture images of the criminals and their license plate number with motion-activated cameras; the kind typically used by hunters.
“I have two cameras and both of them caught the guys coming in and leaving, coming in and leaving,” said Birmingham. “I gave them everything but gas money to catch them, you know?” He says now, more than a year after the burglary happened, he’s having trouble getting law enforcement to even call him back.
KSN showed the photographs to Lt. David Mattingly at the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office.
“What that shows is good evidence, but does is show who did it? No, it doesn’t,” said Lt. Mattingly. “And that’s what it takes. In order to get something charged, you have to have facts, you have to have probable cause that this person committed this crime.”
Lt. Mattingly said solving burglaries is a “daunting task.”
Birmingham’s case is one of 274 burglaries reported last year in the county that are still not cleared. That’s only about a 13 percent clearance rate. The bad news? That small number is about average.
KSN requested the past five years of burglary data from Sedgwick Co. Sheriff’s Office.
2009: 59 of the 351 burglaries reported were cleared.
2010: 83 of the 325 burglaries reported were cleared.
2011: 46 of the 278 burglaries reported were cleared.
2012: 39 of the 320 burglaries reported were cleared.
2013: 48 of the 322 burglaries reported were cleared.
It is important to note that Sedgwick County’s data does not differentiate between ‘residential’ and ‘non-residential’ burglaries.
“I wish it was like we see on television to where a crime comes in and an entire group of people works that until it’s over, but that’s not the reality of it,” said Lt. Mattingly.
He told KSN, “[The investigators] are working very hard. They know who the burglars are, but there’s always somebody new.”
But although Birmingham says he understands the difficulties in solving these types of crimes, he has a different perspective.
“It’s not like on TV like they say, but still, this is a lot of evidence right there,” said Birmingham.
“I was lucky enough to have the cameras, without them, I could see where a lot of [burglary cases] could slip right through the cracks,” continued Birmingham.
After KSN met with the lieutenant Thursday, he said he would have his detectives reach out to Birmingham to “discuss their progress.” We were also told that Birmingham’s photographic evidence has been used “productively” in this investigation. Progress in the burglary has reportedly been made.