Thefts have area on alert

Published 6:48 am Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A man and woman, possibly under the guise of selling meat, attempted a home invasion Sunday afternoon, sheriff’s officials said, and deputies are hoping that vigilant residents will help capture the suspects.

The homeowner on North Pineview Drive fired at the suspects and their vehicle as it fled.

“We have developed some leads that we feel like are pertinent to the investigation,” said Chief Deputy Mike Lambert, who said the vehicle they are seeking could have been involved in similar incidents elsewhere in the county and in Conecuh County.

The incident is the latest in a rash of thefts and attempted thefts that have put residents on high alert.

In the last week, members of a neighborhood watch have thwarted two possible home invasions, neighborhood watch president David Blair said.

“No matter what road you come into in our neighborhood, somebody’s got their eye on you,” Blair said. “We know what’s going on in our neighborhood.”

That kind of vigilance can help combat crime, law enforcement officials have said.

In the Sunday incident, a resident in the 300 block of North Pineview Drive was awakened from a nap around 2 p.m. when two suspects kicked in the door of the home gaining entrance to the residences, Lambert said.

“The homeowner greeted the pair with a firearm when they busted in,” Lambert said. “The resident fired shots at the suspects and even fired shots at the vehicle as it fled from the area.”

Lambert said it is unknown if either the suspects — a white male and white female — or the vehicle was hit by gunfire from the homeowner. He said the vehicle was last scene leaving the area at a high rate of speed in the Foshee Road direction from the residence.

Lambert said a description of the vehicle was a white pickup truck, possibly a Chevrolet, and possibly having an item on the back resembling a deep freezer.

Anyone with information on the incident, the suspects or the vehicle involved in this incident is asked to contact the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department at 867-0304 or any local law enforcement agency.

In recent weeks, there have been burglary incidents on Appleton Road, Garrett Street and Poplar Avenue — and all three ended in arrests.

Lambert said residents should be wary of suspicious salespeople. “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” he said.

“These people often work in teams,” he said. “Don’t give them any information. Keep your cell phone in your hand, and call 911 if you suspect anything.”

Brewton police — who made a burglary arrest last week after an incident in the Alco area — said keeping an eye out in your neighborhood can help prevent and solve crimes.

And keeping a good record of your electronics, jewelry and other items can help police track them down if they are stolen, Sgt. Patrick Caylor said.

“The best advice I can give is to have doors with deadbolts,” Caylor said. “Keep your windows locked. Photograph your property.”

Security lights and other surveillance systems can also help, Caylor said.

Blair said the neighborhood watch group in his area has been able to suppress many incidents in recent years, but he said he has seen an uptick in attempts recently.

In a recent incident, he said, “We had a vehicle pull up in the yard, and the driver got out and headed toward the house. The homeowner came around the corner, and the person looking to steal something fled. (Sunday) night the same thing happened.”

Blair said the neighborhood watch holds its meetings in the street in the evenings, so that they are as visible as possible.

Caylor said burglary incidents do seem to have increased dramatically in recent months, but he did not know what to attribute it to.

“We have our theories,” he said. “It could be the economy, but we don’t really know.”