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Burglary victim seeks to recover his items in unconventional way

By Gheni_Platenburg
April 7, 2011 at 4:02 p.m.
Updated April 6, 2011 at 11:07 p.m.

Leonard Saddler explains that his shed was burglarized for the second time last weekend. Saddler has placed an ad to try and retrieve his stolen items, which include a leaf blower and Weed Eater.

HOW TO PREVENT BURGLARYDON'T TEMPT A THIEFOTHER PRECAUTIONS

Make your home look occupied, and make it difficult to break in.

Lock all outside doors and windows before you leave the house or go to bed, even if it is for a short time

Install burglar bars on windows and deadbolts on doors

Pull drapes shut at night

Leave lights on when you go out. If you are going to be away for a length of time, connect some lamps to automatic timers to turn them on in the evening and off during the day

Don't let daily deliveries of mail, newspapers or flyers build up while you are away

Arrange for your lawn to be mowed if you are going away for an extended time

Trim your shrubbery around your home to reduce cover for burglars

Lawn mowers, barbecues and bicycles are best stored out of sight

Never leave notes on your door such as "Gone shopping"

Never leave keys under doormats, flowerpots, mailboxes or other "secret" hiding places - burglars know where to look for hidden keys

Keep a detailed inventory of your valuable possessions, including a description of the items, date of purchase and original value and serial numbers

Use an engraver to mark your valuables with your driver's license number

Form a Neighborhood Watch Group

Sources: VPD and www.sjpd.org/bfo/community/Crimeprev/PreventionTips/Prevent_Burglary.html

Tired of having his property stolen and the police not being able to recover it, Victoria resident Leonard Saddler decided to take matters into his own hands.

Saddler, 68, whose backyard shed was burglarized last month, came to The Advocate in hopes of placing an ad to let the burglars know he was willing to pay a reward for the return of his stolen Weed Eater and blower.

"I just want to see if they will bring them back. They probably tried to pawn them already," said Saddler, who is offering $50 per item with no questions asked. "They are not going to get $20 apiece for them."

The nearly 5-year-old, orange lawn equipment was taken from Saddler's shed, which he kept unlocked, in the 2900 block of Bluebonnet Street.

After being victimized multiple times, Saddler said he has lost faith in the Victoria Police Department, prompting him to try to find his stolen belongings on his own.

"They say crime in Victoria has gone down. I just do not believe it," said Saddler.

Within the past 20 years, Saddler said he has been the victim of theft, vandalism and attempted burglary.

In addition to his former alternator shop being burglarized twice, Saddler said he has been burglarized twice during at his residence, the first time having taken place in 2003.

The police failed to recover more than $3,000 worth of property, which included jewelry and cash, said Saddler.

"What's the odds of them coming back and robbing you again?" said Saddler. "You would think virtually none, considering how many houses there are in Victoria to rob."

A search of Victoria police crime records showed that from 2008 to present, police responded to more than 50 calls for burglary of habitations and 11 calls for burglary of motor vehicles in the Meadowbrook neighborhood where Saddler lives.

"A lot of people don't realize a lot of this crime can be prevented with the right preventative methods and materials," said police Sgt. Felix Appelt.

Less than a week before Saddler's home was last burglarized, Appelt spoke at a resident-initiated Neighborhood Watch meeting for the Meadowbrook area, which includes Saddler's street.

About 10 people attended the meeting, one of which was Saddler's wife.

He encouraged residents, who had concerns about home and vehicle burglaries, to file a report when they are victimized.

"Each crime needs to be reported so we have an accurate report of what's happening," said Appelt. "It is a lot easier to give specific advice if I can pull up reports and see that people are kicking in doors and coming in."

He continued, "I don't want to tell people to just lock their doors if they are already doing that."

Saddler, who declined to report his latest burglary, said he does not believe in the effectiveness of Neighborhood Watch groups.

"You can sit out there and watch their house, then decide to go down to Dairy Queen and have a banana split. By the time you come back, their stuff is gone," said Saddler. Even if I saw someone looking at the house next door and I could identify them, so what? We have a very broken criminal justice system."

Going forward, Saddler said he is contemplating investing in a security system to hopefully prevent himself from being victimized yet again.

"It's an invasion of your privacy. You really don't know what you've lost until you've had someone else take it away from you" he said.

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