COPS: Valuables Lying In Plain Sight Are Drawing Burglars Into Occupied Homes

Most burglars try to avoid breaking into homes when there are people inside.

Image: Beacon Alarm

But police in our neighborhood say they are seeing a smash-and-grab technique used against occupied homes when burglars see unattended valuables lying in plain sight.

This brand of thief peeks into homes, looking for a wallet, car keys, purse, cellphone, computer, or jewelry lying near a window or door—day or night.

Two neighbors may have caught glimpses of one smash-and-grabber on Friday morning.

Around 6AM, a woman in the 1000 block of W. Grace told police that she saw a man peeking into her back window and then heard him run away. She investigated and found that he moved a stool from her yard so he could see into her home. Eyeing something valuable inside, he was moving the woman’s screen when she scared him off.

About 15 minutes later, a woman in the 3500 block of N. Racine reported a Peeping Tom. But, based on the women’s descriptions, the timing, and the close proximity of the two reports, police believe the woman was dealing with the same man who was seen on Grace.

He is described as black, 5’10” tall, wearing a black hat, a dark gray hoodie with the hood up, and white New Balance shoes.

Rude Awakening

Julie Howe and her family were awakened at 3:30AM yesterday by the sound of a 30-pound paving stone crashing through her family’s back door in the 1300 block of W. Nelson.

“Whoever did this only got away with a wallet and cash but were clearly looking for a quick grab,” Howe said. “He saw my husbands wallet and smashed the window with a paver. He tried to enter through a window but gave up and then smashed through a glass black door.”

Motion sensors, an alarm, and warning stickers on the windows didn’t dissuade the burglar.

“We ran downstairs not knowing what had happened and it was a terrifying seeing our home invaded, the sound of the glass still crackling like rain and not knowing if someone was still in our house as the children slept upstairs.”

“It is the scariest thing we have experienced and we are still rattled,” she said.

The Howes have started a Facebook group for their block so neighbors can share information and ideas.

Reporter Ben Bradley spoke with the Howes on ABC7’s news at 10PM last night.


• 600 block of W. Aldine last Thursday. Intruder kicked through the rear door and stole electronics and paintings.

• 2900 block of N. Halsted last Friday. Several laptops and an iPad taken. Another home was hit in the 1400 block of W. Altgeld.

• 3500 block of N. Wolcott yesterday afternoon. Neighbors saw two offenders break off their neighbor’s lock, go inside, and walk out with guitars and a suitcase.

You can support CWB’s newsgathering efforts with a donation to our Tip Jar.
Email us. Facebook us. Twitter us.
About CWBChicago 4275 Articles
CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is