Tulsa Police See A Rise In Open House Burglaries

Tuesday, October 4th 2011, 7:08 pm
By: News On 6

Lori Fullbright, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The Tulsa burglary squad has a warning for anyone who has a house up for sale or plans to list one.

They're seeing a new trend of burglars breaking into homes for sale between I-244 to 41st Street and Lewis to Yale Avenue.

Police think burglars are using open houses to learn the lay-out of the homes and to unlock a window so they can come back later and clean them out.

"He called me and said, 'Everything's gone,'" said Aubrey, burglary victim.

Aubrey and her husband had their house for sale near 14th and Lewis and came home to find burglars had cleaned them out. More than 20 pieces of art, end tables, lamps, an entertainment center and her husband's guitar were gone. It clearly took a truck for the thieves to haul it all away.

"I was devastated. We work so hard to get the things, work so hard for what we have and for someone just to take it from you. It's devastating and hard to get over," Aubrey said.

Aubrey was shocked to learn they're not the only victims, that burglars have been targeting homes for sale in that area. At least 10 homes were hit in recent weeks.

You never know who's coming to an open house or a showing with the realtor, or who's looking at pictures of your house and belongings on the internet listings. They know what you have and where it is, plus, your neighbors aren't as suspicious.

"When your house is for sale, your neighbors are used to cars coming and going, so they're not on alert when they see something that would usually be unusual," said Tulsa Police Sgt. Shellie Wood.

Sergeant Wood said if you have any valuables or family heirlooms, get them out of your house while it's on the market. Ask your realtor to verify the ID of anyone who looks at the house, and check every single window each time someone looks at your house.

"I would check every single window to make sure someone hasn't left it unlocked," Wood said.

Aubrey said she's relieved they didn't do something wrong, but finds the whole idea very worrisome.

It's recommended that you also record all your serial numbers and take pictures of everything in your house and email that information to work or someplace else.