String of burglaries in Tempe has neighbors on high alert

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TEMPE, Ariz. - A bunch of burglaries in Tempe’s Mitchell Park Neighborhood has residents on watch.

Police say the suspect goes right into homes while people are asleep and appears to be fearless.

He's finding unlocked homes, slipping in, grabbing cell phones and cash or whatever he can carry.

So far he hasn't been violent but obviously that's the fear.  Police are asking people to be on the lookout.

“Fourteen? I didn't know it was 14, that's pretty scary,” said Tyler Banallen. There have been 14 burglaries in one Tempe neighborhood just since June.

“I can't believe so many burglaries have happened in that short period of time,” said George Perez.

It's hard for everyone in this nice and quiet neighborhood between University and Broadway, College and Priest to believe.

“It's a very friendly community and because it is so we're a little more trusting than most we leave our doors open all the time so our friends can just walk in,” said Christopher Waltrip.

The problem is burglars can just walk in too and police say that's what this guy is doing.

Committing a crime of opportunity, zeroing in on unlocked doors and windows, which is concerning for residents. Especially since police say these crimes are being committed overnight between 1 and 6 a.m.

“It's pretty brazen for a suspect to go into someone's house knowing that there is a good chance they're in there,” said Tempe Police Sgt. Steve Carbajal.

“One advantage I have is I don't sleep very well at night so I can be awake and hear things going on,” said resident Philip Verellen.

But one disadvantage is, “With the student population you have people out and about all night long so it's easy to blend in,” said resident Paul Ewry.

Police have released this suspect sketch and are suggesting people utilize those outside security lights, locks and cameras, be aware of their surroundings and report people who look suspicious.

“In those last two where the suspect had contact with people…we're concerned that's an escalation and we don't want it to turn violent,” said Sgt. Carbajal.

Tempe Police are holding a community meeting Monday night at 6 p.m. at the Westside Community Center.