Police around North Texas expect a spike in holiday burglaries as crooks hit homes filled with attractive gifts.
Allen Police Sgt. Jon Felty said victims are more likely to be at home when a holiday burglar visits.
"Their target is holiday-related gifts -- hopefully, electronics, cameras, things of that nature -- that are easy to conceal, easy to get away with," he said. "It's things they may give as gifts. It's things they may sell in order to obtain cash."
Felty said holiday season break-ins are more likely to occur when residents are home because holiday burglars are more likely to live near their targets as opposed to a regular burglar who targets unoccupied homes and may use a getaway vehicle.
"It's convenient for them to do it under cover of darkness because the whole idea is, they want to get the merchandise and they want to conceal themselves quickly," he said.
Felty said three Allen burglaries in two days last month are typical of the pattern.
Homeowners in all three heard the burglars and scared them away before anything was taken.
The victim of the first burglary said she and her son were home at about 12:40 a.m. on Nov. 22 when her son heard a noise near a rear window.
"And the next thing I know, we saw somebody's foot coming through the window," said Kathy, who did not want her last name or address published because the burglar has not been caught.
She said they had left the window unlocked -- which will not happen again.
Police urge residents to keep all doors, gates and windows securely locked, keep gifts and other valuable stored away and out of plain view and keep window drapes and blinds closed to limit a burglar's view into the home.
"I'll be ready for them next time," Kathy said.
She said she was surprised to hear about the holiday burglary pattern described by Felty.
"You never know who your neighbors are," she said.
Felty warns that the trend could continue through Christmas and a few weeks afterward when crooks know potential victims may leave attractive new items lying around their homes.
"A month, two months from now, we won't see this," he said.