On the morning of May 20, a home on Nolbey Street in Cardiff by the Sea was the second home burglarized on the same street in the past two weeks. Combined with an increase of reports of car break-ins, burglaries are on the rise in Encinitas.
The incident happened between 8:00 and 9:30 a.m. When the home’s occupant returned, he found the front door wide open and could see a rear window screen torn off.
Five sheriff’s units responded quickly. The house was searched with guns drawn. Deputies found a floor safe had been ripped out and cabinets opened. “They obviously brought tools,” said one of the deputies. “We think we’ll get some good DNA on the open cabinet doors, ” she added.
“They knew what they were looking for,” said another Nolbey Street resident who returned home a few weeks ago to find it cleaned out. “They scoped us out,” said the homeowner. “One of us is home every day except one day each week, when we both have to work. They broke in that day. They knew we’d be gone,” he said.
The first question Capt. John Maryon of the Encinitas Sheriff’s Department asks is, “Who has been in your house?” he said. Contractors, or more likely the people they hire, might be the culprits.
Also, neighborhoods have been inundated with unsolicited estimators coming by for roofing, solar, or painting. “Why would these guys knock on your door at 2:00 in the afternoon on a weekday?” questioned another neighbor.
Nolbey Street neighbors say they have noticed unknown people sitting in cars or walking around with clipboards. “When you look right at them, they tend to disappear,” another neighbor said.
A resident from around the corner on Freda Lane stopped by to offer her condolences to the emotional homeowners. She said they were robbed in October, but the sheriff’s department caught the culprits in Mira Mesa with a garage full of stuff.
“It’s not just Encinitas,” said Maryon. “It's also Del Mar, Solana Beach, Carlsbad is getting hammered. It’s really countywide.”
As discussed this week on KFI AM640’s John & Ken talk show, statewide, law-enforcement officials say the increase in burglaries is a result of Proposition 47, which removed thefts under $1000 as felonies. Recent reports say major retail chains are feeling the increased shoplifting pinch as crooks know exactly how much merchandise to swipe, keeping it under $1000. If caught, they are usually issued a citation and charged with a misdemeanor.
“We get guys walking out of Home Depot with a drill, expecting just a citation. We still arrest them and put them in jail,” said Maryon. “But many agencies do not,” he added.
“The increase [in burglaries] could be other factors,” said Maryon. “Most everyone we catch is on heroin or meth. It could also be a gang we don’t know about that just got out of jail,” he said.