Archive for Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Burglars strike homes in rural area of county

June 20, 2001

To the burglar, the watch was nothing.

"It was just a watch that didn't work," said a victim of a burglary who lives two miles northwest of Tonganoxie. "It will get tossed because it's no good to anybody, but it belonged to my husband's father and he's been gone 20 years so it was important to my husband."

The victim discovered the burglary after coming home from a Memorial Day weekend trip. Gone were five jewelry boxes and two guns. The loss was estimated at $4,000.

Some of the items in the jewelry boxes, she said, were practically worthless, and those are the ones she misses the most.

"It was costume jewelry that will meaning nothing to anybody," she said. "But I wore them with pride because they were my grandmother's."

She said the burglars had broken into the house by cutting a screen on a sliding door. She thought they must have walked up the driveway, because it appeared that they had taken only what they could easily carry.

"They took the pillowcases off the pillows and threw everything that they could in them," she said.

In 25 years of living at the house, this was the first time it had been broken into, she said.

"I think this has been a bad spring for break-ins," she said. "Ours is the third house on our road to have been robbed in the last few months."

To help deter future burglars, she said, a home security system has been installed. And, in case of another theft, identification marks are being put on items.

She's glad that the house wasn't vandalized, and she's glad that no one was hurt. But that doesn't take away her frustration and anger.

"What you feel most is fury," she said, "Fury that people are so insensitive to everybody else. They don't care they don't even care how they make you feel."

Sgt. John Schermbeck, a detective with the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Department, said he hasn't noticed an alarming number of burglaries in the area.

However, he did say that the ones occurring don't seem to be fitting a seasonal trend.

"It's unusual to have them in the summertime," Schermbeck said. "Because kids are out of school and around the house during the summer, we usually have more of them in the wintertime."

Home alarm systems are good deterrents to burglaries, Schermbeck said.

"There's a certain amount of nuisance involved with an alarm system because they do go off sometimes when they don't need to," Schermbeck said. "But I really think that there's not too many houses that we go into that have been burglarized that have a working alarm system."

Roger Klekacz and Tom Steger have owned Central Systems Security since 1985. The Leavenworth business sells and installs residential and commercial security and fire alarms, as well as gate and driveway alerts and closed-circuit television systems.

The costs of security systems range from $500 to $2,500, depending on the number of doors and windows, and the buyer's preference.

"The ideal time to install a system is during construction," Klekacz said. "We go in at approximately the same time the electricians do, and we wire the walls. When the walls are up, we go in and put the appliances up."

Whether the home is new or old, if at all possible, the wires are buried, or concealed within walls, he said.

Klekacz said CSS also wires for sound.

"We put in two sirens, one for the people inside the house and another for anyone outside to hear," Klekacz said.

For instance, if a burglar breaks a window, the sirens will sound.

"There's going to be sirens going off outside before they ever get into the house," Klekacz said. "This guy doesn't know whether the sheriff's five minutes away or if there's a neighbor writing down his tag number."

Alarm messages are dispatched to a monitoring station that notifies law enforcement.

Alarm systems foster peace of mind, Klekacz said.

"It gives people a sense of security. When they come home they know there's not been anybody there."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.