GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A rash of home burglaries has Gulfport police asking for the public's help.
In the last 60 days, Gulfport police have investigated 49 burglaries in Orange Grove. All were committed in broad daylight, and investigators believe there's a pattern.
Lea Ann Bormann said she came home for lunch last Friday and found her door kicked in.
"When I walked in and I saw the wood hanging. I realized that somebody was possibly still in the house, so I ran," Bormann said.
Bormann said the thieves struck sometime between 8am and 12:30pm, and made off with $8,000 worth of electronics.
"They took our 52-inch, brand new television... some laptops and a DVD player."
Sgt. Chris Ryle of the Gulfport Police Department said this type of crime is on the rise in Orange Grove.
"The m.o. of these guys is they've usually been kicking in the back doors of the residences," Sgt. Ryle said. "Once inside, they're targeting the flat screens televisions, game systems, and laptop computers. We've had over 49 burglaries. We have made 16 arrests in burglary related incidents."
Gulfport police say ten of the suspects charged are juveniles.
"What that's showing us is that these are happening during the daytime, which are school kids," Sgt. Ryle said. "It's happening during school hours while adults are at work. What we're asking is that the citizens, if they see kids they believe are supposed to be in school, contact the police department. Let us know so we can get out there and find out what these kids are doing and why they're not in school. "
Police are also appealing to the parents of the area.
"If your kids come home with a tv, because we do believe these kids are doing this, contact the police or ask questions," Sgt. Ryle said. "Kids don't have the means to come home with a flat screen television or a gaming system. They need to contact us and let us do our investigations."
Bormann said people have told her she should move. But she's more interested in making the neighborhood better.
"We don't know our neighbors," she said. "I think we all do need to get to know one another. So if everybody can keep an eye on everybody's house and see something that's unusual, there's nothing wrong with that "
Bormann said the most valuable thing the thieves took was her sense of security.
"You're angry. Just cannot believe that somebody would do that. It's your space. It's supposed to be your space," Bormann said. "I don't like to be at home. I used to come home on my lunch break. Don't want to come home on my lunch break anymore. I work down the street and everything is convenient for me, but I can't do that."
So far, no one has come home during a burglary. If you do find your house has been burglarized, do not go in. Instead call the police.
Here's a breakdown on some of where those 49 burglaries took place:
- 23 Loren D. Heights/Pine Hills area
- 9 Olivet/North Bel-Aire area
- 8 Northwood Hills/O'Neal Road corridor.
Gulfport police are also pushing a new campaign to get people to write down the serial numbers of their electronics. That way people can claim their items if they are recovered.