Police are warning Normal Heights residents about a series of middle-of-the-night burglaries — with the victims at home asleep. The “hot prowls” all occurred in a small area of the neighborhood.
"Hot-prowl burglaries are bold and dangerous, but pretty rare," said Lt. Mark Bennett of the Mid City Division. "The three cases on ‘beat 811’ are certainly cause for concern."
The burglaries happened on January 21 and 22 during nighttime hours. In one case, someone entered an apartment in the 4500 block of 34th Street by removing the victim’s living-room window screen while she was asleep. The suspect (or suspects) took her 42˝ Sony flat-screen TV, police said.
The second burglary involved the theft of a DVD player, a Dell computer, purse, wallet, and a set of keys from an apartment in the 4600 block of 33rd Street, again while the victim slept.
The third hot prowl, at an apartment in the 4400 block of Cherokee Avenue, was interrupted when the male resident woke up and found two suspects in his home, trying to carry off his TV.
"The suspect threw the TV at the victim, striking him in the face," Bennett said. Both suspects fled out the door; the victim described one as a heavy-set Hispanic adult male.
There were other recent burglaries in the neighborhood, including the theft of an iPad, a computer, and personal items from a home in the 4600 block of 35th Street; there, burglars got in through the unlocked kitchen window.
Another attempted burglary occurred in the 4300 block of Swift Avenue, where the resident found someone had removed a window screen, put his hand through a partially open window, and pushed the couch away from the window. But because the window was locked in place, the burglar didn't get into the home and nothing was taken.
Police are warning residents to secure their doors and windows and keep an eye out in the neighborhood. Suspects are usually caught when an alert resident reports window tampering or other suspicious behavior.
"If you see or hear anything suspicious in the middle of the night, please call 911 right away. Have a phone near the bed, and keep all windows and doors locked when sleeping," Bennett cautioned.