North Austin residents warned of daytime break-ins


by HEATHER KOVAR / KVUE News and photojournalist ERIN COKER

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherK_KVUE

Posted on February 4, 2014 at 6:49 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 4 at 7:11 PM

AUSTIN -- The North Austin Civic Association is warning homeowners in the Lanier High School area to be aware of recent burglaries. Many are happening during the day when people are are at work.

A woman in the area says she went outside Monday afternoon around 1 p.m. and saw a man climbing a fence. She yelled, and he ran away.

A few blocks away, just days previously, someone busted down a door to get inside a home. It happened around noon. Roberto Perez showed KVUE what used to be his front door on Jamestown near North Lamar Boulevard.

"They must have had a sledgehammer and a pretty good-sized crowbar," said Perez.

He says damage at the deadbolt shows they tried that first, then took out the hinges.

"Since they couldn't open this side, they opened it from this side. And they just kicked the door in,” said Perez, pointing out the damage.

He was at work Thursday, and his wife had just left to go to the grocery store when they got a call from the alarm company.

"Initially, I'm thinking, there is somebody watching our house,” Perez said.

He says the alarm must have scared them, because they were gone before police arrived, and nothing was taken. It cost about $600 to replace the door and the frame.

In September, KVUE reported that just about a block away from Perez’s house, a man shot a 17-year-old trying to break into his home at noon. That teen was charged with burglary.

The North Austin Civic Association is warning residents of recent break-ins, and says there have been 15 burglaries in the 78758 area code since Jan. 1. That's nearly one every other day.

"Recently, it's a huge problem, and it's happening when people are at work,” said resident Ben Grimm.

Grimm lives on Bridgeport, where his girlfriend scared someone off who might have been trying to break in during the day.

"People are getting fed up about it,” said Grimm.

He said grew up in the house and is going to stay and fight to keep this a safe neighborhood. So is Perez.

"I made a commitment to stay in this neighborhood. They're not going to scare me away,” said Perez.

Both hope neighbors will remain alert.

The North Austin Civic Association posts alerts on break-ins here.