Ex-burglar shows you how to avoid being burglarized

Ex-burglar shows you how to avoid being burglarized
TAFT, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Mike Craft agreed to talk to Eyewitness News in an effort to help people from being victimized by a burglar. He used to be one himself, in order to support a drug habit.

Craft has since turned to his faith and church as a way to help others.

The time it takes to get in and out of a home with an armful of valuables was usually less than two minutes, said Craft.

"I could be in and out of your house before the alarm company sends the signal to the police," he said.

So, we asked him to show us.

His preferred method of breaking in was to go in through a home's back door. Once on the property, he does not act like a thief, but rather uses body language to convey a message to any neighbors who might be watching.

"I'd come up the steps, acting like I lived here," said Craft.

He would bust the door open with a hard kick, go inside and lock the door behind him. Then, he goes to work.

First, he grabs a pillow case from a bedroom and then begins rifling through drawers, under the mattress and closet. He places any items to steal in the pillow case and continues his quest throughout the rest of the house.

Time is of the essence, mindful that if the house has a silent alarm, he needs to be gone fast. He hits another bedroom and then the living room, where he throws in CDs, DVDs and stereo components.

He would often find jewelry and guns, even if left in a safe. Just prior to leaving, Craft would peep through the blinds to make sure no was was there. He would then walk out the front door with pillow case in tow, just like Santa Clause.

Craft said burglars case homes checking for the obvious signs no one its there - newspapers piled up in front of a home or a mailbox filled with mail, even a dusty door handle are all indications no one has been around for a while.

He suggested getting a big dog, as they are usually good deterrents.

It's surprising, said Craft, how many gates and doors leading to a property are not secured. Put a lock on all of them, he said.

Another trick burglars will use is to plan their hits. A common way is to go to a movie theater parking lot and observe women who park and then leave their purse in the trunk of their vehicle.

"You go pop the trunk and get their purse," said Craft. "Now you got their keys, license, address, credit cards, and you know they'll be at the movies for a while." That gives thieves time to pay a visit to the victim's home without being hurried.

To protect valuables at home, Craft said put them in inconspicuous places, such as in the kitchen area.

Generally, if a burglar sees that it's going to take time and effort to break into a home, chances are the thief won't risk it.