Police say burglars in two North Texas cities are cutting phone and power lines before they break into homes.
Flower Mound police Lt. Wess Griffin said each burglary had the same hallmarks. In each case, the thieves cut the home's electricity or phone service -- or both.
"They're actually going to the front door (and) seeing if anyone responds," he said. "They cut the lines, go around to the back of the house and kick in the door."
Robert Brown came home Tuesday afternoon to find wires dangling from the side of his Flower Mound house. The thieves took a flat-screen TV, a Nintendo Wii gaming system and his daughter's jewelry box before bolting from the neighborhood.
"I've got a 9-year-old daughter, and now I've got to explain to her what happened," Brown said. "Someone broke into her house, and does she sleep well at night? How does she feel about her house?"
Police are warning homeowners to make sure their alarm systems have a working backup battery. Some alarm companies also offer wireless uplinks, which ensure that the system will contact the alarm company even if the phone line is down.
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The line-cutting scheme could also backfire on the thieves.
Many alarm systems automatically notify the alarm company when the wires are cut, and most newer systems have backup batteries to power them if electricity is interrupted.
Burglars face an even bigger risk -- electrocution -- if they cut the lines the wrong way.