CARMEL, Ind. -- Police are asking for the public's help in catching a serial burglar in Carmel. The investigation started more than a year and a half ago, but investigators said they believe there may now be at least 18 burglaries linked to the suspect.
The most recent two investigators said may be related occurred just last month.
"They came from the back to the master bathroom, and they broke the glass door, it shattered all over the floor," Son Won Byeon said.
The Carmel resident said when she returned home from a friend's gathering on a Saturday night in February, she knew something wasn't right. She discovered a glass door in the master bathroom was shattered and items were thrown about the master bedroom.
"I don't think it can happen to my house because this area was very safe area," Byeon said.
Investigators said the cases have mainly affected southwest Clay Township. The suspect targets larger homes that appear vacant, hits during the evening or darker hours and takes valuables he can conceal--things like jewelry and cash.
"He's looking for homes that are obviously vacant, either they're gone for the weekend, they're gone for the evening time, no alarms are set," said Lt. Joe Bickel with the Carmel Police Department. "When you go away from your house, it's simple to set an alarm, lock your doors. So just take the simple precautions to make sure you're safe and your property is safe."
Spring break also starts for Carmel students in just a few days.
"Obviously any criminal we're looking for as much as we can, and so with spring break coming up we know there's a lot of people going on vacation. We have a program called a vacation program that people can go online and input information in regards to when they're gonna be gone," Bickel said.
Carmel police have a vacation check program. Residents can sign up online here, and enter information that is delivered to officers. Then when possible, officers can check on homes while people are away whether that's for a few hours or days.
Police offered the following tips to keep your home safe when you're away:
- Make sure you lock doors and windows
- Set alarms
- Make sure your alarms and surveillance cameras are working properly
- Have a neighbor or family member watch your house and pick up newspapers and mail
- Put indoor and outdoor lights on an automatic timer
- Use motion sensor lights and don't leave garage doors open
"Simple things as far as being gone on spring break, make sure your trash cans are back into their normal spot and they’re not sitting out along the curb for several days at a time, make sure you stop your mail, stop your newspaper so they’re not piling up at the end of the driveway, make sure you have lights on the inside and outside of your house either on timers or on motion sensors so that way things can be lit if there’s someone in the area," Bickel said.
Bickel said you should also make sure your vehicle doors are locked and valuables are kept out of sight.
Since February, Byeon said she too has taken more security measures at her home. Now she encourages neighbors to be aware, too.
"We should be careful and watch each other," she said.
Police said if you see anything suspicious or have any information on the burglaries to call them at 317-571-2580 or 317-571-2500.