Police warn of crooks robbing families while doing yard work

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – While a Jonesboro family cleaned up their backyard Tuesday, police say crooks did a little spring cleaning inside their home.

The break-in occurred Tuesday afternoon in the 1700 block of Greensboro Road, according to the Jonesboro Police Department.

Police say an elderly woman, her husband and son were working when someone came through the front door and stole $250 in cash and two tennis bracelets worth $200.

Sgt. Lyle Waterworth says police have responded to similar break-ins in the past, so officers are asking residents to stay aware of a crime that seems to sprout up once the seasons change.

"The weather is great. It's that time of year," Waterworth said. "People are out doing yard work."

Waterworth says the crooks target homes, as the owners tend to their lawns or gardens only a few feet away.

"Most of the time, it's a crime of opportunity," he explained. "They see the family working in the yard and decided, hey, here's me a spot to go to."

Waterworth says families can take steps to avoid becoming victims. He asks people to stay within eyeshot of their doors and encourages them to allow only one point of entry into their home.

"Try to have only one point of entry when you're out working in the yard," he said. "That way, if anybody comes in, they've got to come past you to get into the house."

He also says the best line of defense can come from neighbors, advising residents to look out for each other.

"Maybe I'm out working in my yard and you're out working in your yard, and I see somebody come up. Feel free to call the police if you see something like that," Waterworth said. "Feel free to call us if you see a suspicious person in your neighborhood. Let your neighbors know, hey, who is that guy that just went in your house?"

Taking pictures of valuables and keeping a record of serial numbers are also recommended because that can help police identify or retrieve stolen items.

"If we have all the numbers, we can find it a lot more readily," Waterworth noted.

Several residents said they already follow these suggestions, but Waterworth says they're worth repeating since one incident has occurred this season.

To provide any information about the aforementioned crime, call Crimestoppers at 935-STOP.