Tempe police to residents: Lock your doors, close your windows

Posted: Updated:
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Tempe police are hosting a community meeting Monday evening to give the public the latest details about a string of brazen burglaries.

Investigators believe the serial burglar is responsible for 14 incidents. The man generally gets into the homes through an unlocked door or window. Most of the burglaries have happened between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. when the residents are asleep.

"We haven't seen a whole lot of forced entry," said Tempe Police Sgt. Steve Carbajal.

Investigators are concerned that the burglar is getting more audacious.

According to Carbajal, the suspect has been making contact with the victims in the most recent incidents.

"The fear for us is something more violent could happen," Carbajal said.

The target area is just west of Arizona State University's main campus between University Drive and Broadway Road on the north and south, and Mill Avenue and Priest Drive on the east and west.

Witnesses have described the suspect as a black male with a muscular build, 20 to 30 years old, 5 feet 7 inches to 6 feet tall, and 165 to 175 pounds.

Carbajal said there are some very simple things residents can do to make their homes a harder target.

•  Lock all doors and windows.

•  Lock any gates with access to your home or yard.

•  Leave exterior lights on.

•  Install motion activated exterior lighting.

•  Remove any foliage or items that may hide your doors or windows from view.

•  Photograph and write down serial numbers of electronics.

•  Inventory and catalog any other items of value.

The suspect seems to go for easy-to-carry items like laptops, cell phones, electronics and cash.

The goal of Monday night's meeting is to give area residents the information they need to protect themselves.

"The only way they can safeguard themselves is if they know what the problem is, they know when the crimes are occurring," Carbajal said. "That's what the meeting tonight is going to be about. ... It's really about exchanging that information with our community."

The meeting is at 6 p.m. in the Los Vecinos Room of the the Westside Community Center, 715 W. Fifth Street.

Police ask anyone with information about these crimes to call the Tempe Police Department at 480-350-8311 or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.