BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — After seeing a rise in items stolen from garages in the summer months, the Bakersfield Police Department reminded people of ways they can protect themselves against theft.
Detective Matthew Hilliard said garage break-ins are a big problem for the department during the summer months.
"We see these rise in the warmer months when people start opening their windows and their garage doors, leaving them open for ventilation," said Hilliard.
As Samantha Welch found out, an open garage door is practically an invitation to thieves to take your belongings. Welch says her garage was broken into twice this month.
"He didn't make off with anything this time, but last time they stole a whole bunch of stuff, over $4,000 worth of stuff," said Welch.
Police caught a suspect in the act during the second break-in after Welch's mother spotted a man in their garage.
"(The police) busted through our garage door and caught the guy with a knife," said Welch. "They had to tell him over three times to drop the knife before they talked him to the ground."
Welch said she's glad that a suspect is in custody, but her family's overall sense of security was violated.
"It's hard to sleep at night, if you hear a noise or if the dogs bark, because you're instantly up and worrying about, 'Is someone coming back? Is there another person?'" said Welch.
Detective Hilliard said there are a few ways to easily prevent a garage theft from happening at your home:
-- Keep your garage door shut as often as possible and items of value out of plain view
-- Keep bikes, and other larger items locked up inside your garage
-- Install motion sensor lights near your garage door
-- Etch your name, address or phone number into items of value and be sure to write down make, model and serial number of larger valuable items.