Someone spent a lot of time in Kenny Parker’s north Spokane home while he was away for the Memorial Day weekend.
Trouble is, the 28-year-old mechanic didn’t know about the guest. He hadn’t asked for a house-sitter.
“I tried to make it look like someone was still living here,” Parker said of his vacation preparations. “I set timers, stopped the paper, the whole bit.”
The facade didn’t fool the local thieves, though.
While Parker sipped cold ones on Loon Lake with friends, someone broke in through a window and ransacked his East Providence rancher. They also ate some food and stole three guns from Parker’s basement.
“I did everything right and I still got hit,” he said, still cleaning up the mess after work Tuesday. “Unbelievable.”
More than 40 other homes in Spokane County were burglarized over the long weekend, making it the worst three days for break-ins so far this month. Last weekend, 32 homeowners reported burglaries.
Gary Kuntz, a crime analyst for the Spokane Police Department, said holiday weekends are always popular striking times for burglars.
Burglaries have increased slightly every weekend this month, though. About half as many were reported during the same time in April, Kuntz said.
The Hillyard and Nevada-Lidgerwood neighborhoods were the hardest hit last weekend, claiming 12 of the city’s 28 break-ins. Sixteen reported no forced entry, meaning the burglar entered through an unlocked door or window, records show. Others broke windows, jimmied locks and used bolt cutters to get inside.
One burglar on West Buckeye managed to disable the home’s security system.
Kuntz attributes the recent increase to warmer weather, when people are less likely to lock doors and windows and more likely to leave their garages open for the world to see.
“We tell people these things all the time, but they still forget,” Kuntz said. “It takes being a victim before they start to remember.”
At least 10 of the victims were home when the burglaries occurred, according to police and sheriff’s reports. Half of the thieves were scared off before they ever made it inside the house.
Arlene Norenberg was pulling weeds in her back yard on West Eighth last Sunday when someone opened her front door and walked out with a portable stereo.
The burglars also took some jewelry and about $25 she had on her bedroom dresser. She didn’t notice the theft until she went inside, which could have been several hours later.
“I did leave the door unlocked,” said Norenberg, a grandmother who likes to plant flowers, cross-stitch and read mystery novels. “It’s my own fault.”