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Residents urged to protect themselves from crimes of opportunity, lock doors

By Staff | Dec 3, 2008

Sanibel Police Chief Bill Tomlinson is reminding residents to pay special attention to their personal security in the wake of two burglaries last week committed within days of each other.

“We’re just reminding our residents to keep their windows and doors locked — even when they’re at home,” said Tomlinson.

Although the two break-ins — one at the Sandalfoot Condominiums and the

other at the Lighthouse Point Condominiums — are not thought to be

related, it is rather unusual to have two burglaries in one week, said

Tomlinson.

“This is a very safe community. But, it could be, as the economy worsens, we may see more of this type of activity,” he warned. “Some people are desperate, and they may think that our residents have valuable things.”

A suspect was apprehended at the scene of the first burglary at the Sandalfoot Condominiums located at 671 East Gulf Drive on Monday, Nov. 24 after a witness reported a suspicious person entering one of the units there. Jesus Robaina, 37, whose last known address is in Miami, was charged with Burglary of an Unoccupied Dwelling and Burglary of an Unoccupied Conveyance after the same witness reported seeing Robaina in an unlocked vehicle in the condominium’s parking lot.

“Do not allow yourself to become a victim of opportunity,” for an alleged burglar — such as Robaina — advised Tomlinson. “Keep all the doors to your house locked at all times, including the garage doors. And keep the doors to your car locked as well.”

Although no suspect has been apprehended in the second break-in, which happened on Wednesday, Nov. 26 at the Lighthouse Point Condominiums,

located at 200 Periwinkle Way, it was a witness who first reported the

break-in to police when they heard someone entering a unit through an

unlocked sliding glass door.

Tomlinson said that while it is very important to keep your windows and doors locked, it is equally as important to report suspicious people or behavior to the police.

“It’s better to be safe than sorry in those types of situations,” said Tomlinson. “If we all work together, we can prevent these types of crimes from happening in our community.”

Police offered the following tips for keeping yourself, your family and your home safe from intruders:

• Lock all doors and windows

• Keep bushes and trees trimmed

• Never hide keys outside your home

• Lock jewelry in a safe or store valuables in a safe deposit box

• Let a neighbor know when you are out of town and let them know who should and should not be at your home while you are away

• Install and maintain good lighting; use timers to turn lights on and off

• Install deadbolt locks, solid doors, security hinges and striker plates

• Secure sliding glass doors with pins

• Look around as you approach your driveway

• Close your overhead garage door before exiting your vehicle

• Never open your door to a stranger. If they claim to be representing a business, call to verify that they do, in fact, work for that business. Have them produce identification

• Make sure your alarm system is enabled whenever you are at home, or

away from home.

If you observe any suspicious activity, or unusual or out-of-the-ordinary activity, at your home or your neighbors’ homes, call the Sanibel Police Department at 472-3111 immediately.