There is only so much a person can do to protect his or her home against predators. Edith Swann fell victim to a burglary, despite taking necessary precautions such as locking her doors.

One morning, after her daughter left for work, Swann went outside to clean off her porch. About 10 to 15 minutes later, Swann says, her life changed.

“I was out in the front watering the porch and heard a loud crash towards the back of the house,” she says.

Initially, she thought the sound came from nearby construction on a house. But as she went to investigate the noise, she realized that this was not any harmless sound. Someone had shattered the glass on the back door to the house, and when the intruder couldn’t get in, he broke the lock.

“I saw a figure of a man in tan pants going towards the gate and I ran to the side of the house,” she explains.

Swann tried to see the car the man was in, but couldn’t because vines around the fence blocked her view.

In that short amount of time, the suspect had gotten away with her purse, house keys and car keys.

“I was lucky I wasn’t in the house, because this person could have injured me,” she says. “I didn’t think this could ever happen to me.”

Deputy Chief David Elliston recommends that the first thing a person should do if their home is burglarized is to get out of the house if he or she can do so without being detected. He also urges that people call the police as soon as possible on a cell phone or at a neighbor’s house.

“Try to avoid confrontation,” he says. “A person has a right to protect their property, but by doing so they are putting themselves in danger.”

Swann called the police right away, and they came out to the house shortly after. They told her to cancel her credit cards, but the suspect had already used her Visa card to purchase gas at a Shell station.

“Sometimes [thieves] use the cards immediately and sometimes they sell them or trade them for drugs, because they’re afraid to use them and get caught,” Elliston says.

A couple of days later, Swann’s purse was found in a residential neighborhood close to Webb Chapel Road by a yard maintenance person.

“Luckily some honest man picked up my purse and contacted me to return it,” she says of the Duncanville man, who found it in the grass near some bushes.

She and her daughter met the man halfway to get the purse from him.

Although Swann feels that she couldn’t have done anything differently to protect her home, she advises that neighbors call each other right away when things of this nature happen. This way they can be on the lookout for suspicious people in the neighborhood.

“An alert neighbor is a very valuable thing, because the police can’t be everywhere,” she says.

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