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Oak Harbor home invasions raise police concerns

Police say they are alarmed by recent burglaries in which an intruder or intruders broke into condominiums while the residents were home.

Jennifer Yzaguirre, community service officer with Oak Harbor police, said the two frightening incidents occurred within two weeks of one another at condos in the southwest area of the city.

In addition, a third nearby resident discovered that someone stole his Christmas presents  delivered to his home.

Yzaguirre held a community meeting Monday night with residents of Mariner Heights condos to hear their concerns and provide safety tips. She also posted a video about preventing break-ins through garage doors.

The video can be viewed on the Whidbey News-Times page at www.facebook.com/WhidbeyNews.

At about 10 p.m. at Dec. 26, a woman in a Mariner Heights condo woke up to see a flashlight coming up the stairs. She banged on the wall and screamed to alert the residents in the adjoining condo to her plight.

The neighbors called police and the burglar fled out the front door.

Police said the burglar gained entrance through a garage door; Yzaguirre explained that older doors aren’t always safe from intruders, but can be secured.

Nothing was stolen, but the intruder apparently moved a video camera.

Then on Jan. 4, a burglar struck another condo not far away on Southwest Kimball Drive. The resident was at home, but slept through the break-in. The intruder got away with laptop computers, a range finder, a hunting bow, hunting gear, ammo and other items.

Yzaguirre said neighbors reported hearing a banging noise at around midnight. The intruder got into the unit by using a shovel to pry open a door.

On Jan. 2, a man on Swantown Road reported finding empty boxes addressed to him in the community garbage. Apparently someone stole packages from his porch, opened them, took the presents and threw out the boxes.

He’s now calling relatives to see what he was supposed to get for Christmas, Yzaguirre said.

She suspects that all three incidents may be related since they are in walking distance of each other.

Police Detective Carl Seim said there’s inherent danger of breaking into an occupied residence for both the occupants and intruders.

The common modus operandi for burglars is to knock on a door or window to check if anyone is home.

“What’s concerning is that one of these times a burglar is going to get into a house where there’s small children or teenagers,” he said, “and then you will never know what will happen.”

 

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