Every time the dog barks, Jackie Waidelich looks out the window of her East Central home, a makeshift fortress of furniture blocking windows and recently installed surveillance waiting to catch on camera the burglars who keep trying to come back for more.
Waidelich, 31, says it started Oct. 22 as she prepared to clock in at a new job at a publishing company. Around 7 a.m. she glanced out the window and was shocked to see a man jumping the fence onto their property.
Scrambling to call 911, she looked out the window to get a good look at the man. She saw him staring back at her.
“And right there I saw his face. The guy ran off,” Waidelich said.
The next day, she and her husband, Dylan Waidelich, 24, came home from work to find the deadbolt of their front door unlocked and the back door kicked in.
“We knew before we opened the door that we had been robbed,” Dylan Waidelich said.
The couple married in July after starting their first business together, a supplement to their full-time employment. They bake cupcakes with beer under the business name Sweet and Stout, cooking bulk orders out of a rented industrial kitchen.
They reported the burglary to Spokane police, which brought officers to take a report. Police spokeswoman Jennifer DeRuwe said this week they have exhausted all leads with the handful of burglaries in the neighborhood and have no suspect information.
A crime map on the city’s Geographic Information System shows that the Waideliches’ home is barely outside a hot spot of various crimes. Police crime analysis has yet to note any increase or decrease in burglaries in that area.
After the burglary, Dylan Waidelich said, he saw another person jump over their home’s fence from a neighboring vacant property – this time with a hammer and a glove.
“When I was home, I was so paranoid that somebody was coming,” Jackie Waidelich said. “After Dylan saw the guy with the hammer, I thought, they’re coming to break our windows. They’re not going to kick open the door this time.”
During the first theft, the thieves took off with their small electronics, including power cables, chargers for cameras, laptops, tablets, and game consoles. Dylan Waidelich said the burglars even helped themselves to a small clothes bin from the bedroom to carry the load.
The couple believe whoever broke into their home the first time is coming back for more.
“You’ve already broken into our house. You know what’s left, and there isn’t much left. What do you want at this point?” Dylan Waidelich asked.
Dylan believes police response has been good, and they’ve even seen an increase in patrols. But the couple’s family has written to several public officials in Spokane explaining the burglary and asking for the city’s response.
Councilman Jon Snyder said contacting the City Council is the last resort. He’s been in contact with the couple to help connect the dots with the city.
“When these things get to the point that they contact us, we try to push it a little further,” Snyder said. “I’m worthless to help fight crime individually, but I can help ask the right questions and see what can be done.”
Now the couple keep their refrigerator in front of the kitchen window and a stack of stools in front of the hallway window in hopes of deterring a second attempt. Cameras now document movement in the backyard and notify Dylan Waidelich of movement inside the house.
The Waideliches say moving from the neighborhood isn’t an option. They’d lose too much on the home.
“We don’t have a choice – we’re here,” Jackie Waidelich said.
Despite the fear, the Waideliches are trying to stay hopeful.
“I guess we’re taking care of all the major hurdles we can in one year,” Dylan Waidelich said. “We’ve started a business, gotten married and broken into now. I don’t know what’s next, but I hope it’s positive.