Marshall Huston’s home was burglarized and, unfortunately, it wasn’t the first time. In fact, this was the fourth break in he’s had this year.

“I lock my doors, and I used to think that was good enough, but I guess I was wrong to think like that,” Huston says. “There is nothing else I can do, except maybe stay inside and watch for a burglar, but what do you do when you have to go to work?”

This most recent burglary totals about $2,500 worth of stolen tools from the shed behind Huston’s house.

“It happened in the afternoon, but I didn’t realize anything until later on that evening,” he says.

Huston has lived at his home for 46 years, and in that time he’s seen his fair share of break-ins, but says he suspects no link between them all. “I don’t believe the crimes are connected because the burglar goes for different things every time,” Huston says. “When they broke into my shop, they stole all my tools; when they broke into my house, they stole my TVs, stereos and some other stuff.”

Dallas Police Sgt. Eric Larsen of the Northeast ICP Unit explains that some storage sheds have windows in them, which puts valuable property into public view. He warns residents to rethink how and where they store their valuables.

“What residents need to know is that criminals are opportunists,” Larsen says. “They are basically looking for anybody who keeps their things in plain view. So if you don’t make it hard for them to steal your property, you’re making their job of stealing your stuff easier: You’re either for them or against them.”

Larsen says tools are some of the easiest, and most desirable, items to steal.

“Tools are pretty valuable and can easily be sold on the street,” Larsen says. “Speaking from experience, if you were to go into any pawnshop in any city, you would find plenty of tools bought by the pawnshops.”

Larsen says there are a couple ways to increase the chances of recovering stolen tools.

“The best thing you could do is always keep track of the serial numbers on your tools,” Larsen says. “If a serial number is not available, some type of engraving would help.”

To prevent backyard break-ins, Larsen advises neighbors to make sure their homes have good outdoor lighting, with motion detectors, and sheds without windows. He also encourages the use of tall privacy fences, even though they have their pros and cons.

“A good thing is that they keep thieves from knowing what is in your yard; a bad thing is that your neighbors won’t be able to see what is going on in your yard in case you are burglarized,” Larsen says. “You always want a neighbor looking out for you.”

Ultimately, Larsen advises residents to “just always be aware.”

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