VOL. 17 ISSUE NO. 1 | JANUARY 5 – 11, 2011

BY LINDA BENTLEY | JANUARY 5, 2011

Tatum Ranch residents plagued by rash of break-ins


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PHOENIX – Over the past two months there has been close to a dozen forced entry burglaries in Tatum Ranch.

At around 10:15 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 30, Kent Schweiss, a Desert Willow Estates resident, after running errands for about an hour and a half, arrived back at his home to see a silver Nissan Murano backed into his driveway, which he said then pulled out and stopped along the curb.

He didn’t think too much of it at first, but then, after parking, he saw his front door had been completely kicked in and was leaning up against the sidelight.

As he walked into the house, he heard a cell phone ring. Since his cell phone was in his pocket, Schweiss knew it wasn’t his and walked to the back bedroom where the intruders fled through the bedroom doors into the back yard.

Schweiss said the burglars made off with jewelry and electronics.

Described as two, tall, very dark complexioned, black males in their mid to late 30s, the suspects scaled the wall into the neighbor’s yard, where one apparently lost his balance and fell into the swimming pool.

According to Schweiss, his neighbor, who was home at the time, came face to face with one of the men as he tried to kick in her French doors, while the other perpetrator was on the pool side of the locked pool fencing.

He said she called 911 and showed the man her phone to indicate she had called for help and both men fled.

It appears a third accomplice was driving the Murano and was most likely trying to call one of the other men on his cell phone to let them know the homeowner had returned.

What Schweiss learned later, after sharing his experience with other Tatum Ranch residents, burglaries also occurred in the Tatum Highlands section of Tatum Ranch on Christmas Eve.

However the two men and a woman suspects in those incidents were described as Caucasian.

When Schweiss went to Lowe’s to purchase a security door, the salesman told him they had sold nine security doors that week, all of which were break-in related.

Schweiss said the Phoenix police officer who responded to his call offered numerous suggestions, which included:
• Write down or type into a cell phone the license number of any suspicious vehicles;
• Use a cell phone camera to take a picture of any suspicious vehicles, license plates and/or questionable persons;
• Replace the screws in the hinges of pre-hung doors with longer screws that drive deep into the framework, wherever possible;
• Place wood or PVC pipe in sliding window and door channels to prevent them from opening; never open the door without knowing who is on the other side;
• Look in the rearview mirror before entering the garage to make sure no one is attempting to follow you in;
• Verify contractors soliciting work with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors before making any appointments for inspections or estimates; and several other tips.

While Schweiss’ 52-home Tatum Ranch community may have a Block Watch program set up, as homes sell and neighbors change, it was probably time to get reacquainted with one another.

To report suspicious activity in Phoenix, call Crime Stop at 602-262-6151 or if it appears there is a crime in progress, call 911.



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