St. Elmo residents determined to stop break-ins
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- One Chattanooga neighborhood is determined to stop a rash of break-ins. People in St. Elmo say thieves are getting away with thousands of dollars in property.
"Just we're, very distressed that we had been broken into, after living here for 30 years, we love this neighborhood, we feel very at home," says Sarah Lambert.
Lambert says she and her husband came home from church Sunday, to find their home a wreck.
"They had opened all the drawers. They didn't disturb contents in some rooms, but then in the master bedrooms had turned out all the drawers. It was all in the floor in piles," she says.
She says the thieves got away with jewelry, an iPad and laptop, along with other electronics. The Lamberts are not the only ones who have been hit.
"I had a good friend down the road, a couple of months ago, they broke in to her house during the day and took camera equipment," says Becca Wilson.
Wilson says with two known break-ins this month alone, she is keeping her eyes open for trouble.
"It's just frustrating. Obviously, I'm kind of worried. Luckily I have a neighbor that lives across the street that looks out for me. But still it makes me want to lock my doors at night a little more."
"It's happening a lot, like, mid-morning, say 10 to 11 o'clock. It seems like we've been hearing that a lot," says Michael Plummer.
Plummer is treasurer of the neighborhood association. For the past year, the neighborhood has kept an online database detailing each break-in, logging close to 20 so far.
"We're basically keeping track of where they're happening."
The neighbor's vigilance is paying off. Three people have been arrested so far this year. Chris Pickerell was a hired handyman, accused of taking tools and charged with criminal trespassing. Corey Long and David Fairchild were busted, charged with trying to sell stolen items from a St. Elmo home on Craigslist.
But Plummer says one burglar's punishment was not enough.
"The guy's already back out on the street. I think he bonded out pretty quickly. That happens a lot," he says.
The neighborhood association says they are talking to police, hoping to get an increase in patrols in the area. They are also looking at strengthening their neighborhood watch program.
In the meantime, Fairchild and Long are due in court later this week.