Burglars targeting vacant homes in Sun City, Sun City West

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

SUN CITY, Ariz. -- The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is searching for the people behind a crime spree in Sun City and Sun City West.

There have been 40 break-ins since June.

Deputies say the suspects have been kicking their way into victims' home through front, side or rear doors, usually while the occupants are away. They move quickly, stealing flat-screen televisions, jewelry, firearms and electronic devices.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said the burglars mostly strike during weekends and could be working in two crews of two or three people each.

Investigators said the burglars troll the neighborhoods, watching for telltale signs that a home might be vacant -- newspapers in driveways and fliers on doors.

Residents say it is common for some of their neighbors to be gone during the summer.

Arpaio said he is concerned that the suspects might start targeting occupied homes.

"There have been two or three instances where the suspects have knocked on a door and there were people living there," he said. "But fortunately they ran. I don't know how much longer that will continue so we're concerned about the safety of the citizens out there."

At this point, deputies do not have much in the way of suspect information.

Witnesses have reported seeing several different getaway vehicles, including a red or maroon hatchback car or similar type SUV, a tan passenger car possibly resembling a Chevrolet Malibu or Chevy Impala, a green passenger car of unknown make and a faded blue passenger car of unknown make.

The sheriff's office is asking residents to report anything suspicious by calling Crime Stop at 602-876-1011.