What happens when someone breaks into a home…and takes nothing?


Jun 05, 2019

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As the month of May was coming to an end and the weather was really starting to warm, a Boston-area man came home to an unusual surprise. Someone had very clearly been inside his home – every room in fact. But rather than missing valuables and trashed furniture, the man bizarrely encountered a sparkling clean house. It turns out, the intruder was actually a maid service which had recorded the wrong address on the day’s list of jobs. Luckily, the man was left with a good laugh and a free scrubbing.

However, most such incidents are not so innocent. Though countless homeowners return to a burglarized property every day, a small number discover that nothing was taken. Though they may initially breathe a sigh of relief, the feeling is short-lived as the purpose of the break-in is left uncertain. What were they looking for?

There are a number of reasons that victims report nothing stolen. Most likely, the crime was one of opportunity and the burglar was spooked, forcing them to flee before they got the chance to swipe anything. Small mistakes like leaving a garage door or backyard gate open can lead an impulsive crook to take a quick trip inside. The person could also be using the chance to evaluate the home and come back with tools or a getaway vehicle.

It’s alarming, but some break-ins are committed by someone known to the victim. They could be an acquaintance, recent maintenance worker or even a neighbor. In these cases, they might be searching for something specific that was moved from its original spot like a laptop, a stash of cash or another expensive item.

Increasingly, identity crimes are becoming more common. A thief can simply snatch a piece of mail or ID and conduct a series of costly crimes like opening a new credit card or taking a loan in the name of the other person. Not only are these incredibly damaging and difficult to rectify, but they are also less likely to be noticed straight away. In fact, a homeowner may not notice any personal items were taken until it’s too late.

Because of the influx of drugs into quiet and safe areas, more home invasions are prompted by addicts who are seeking money, prescription medication, and other such items. Like mail or pieces of ID, a homeowner may not realize that their medication is missing or assume they lost it elsewhere. Police have also found that such criminals may have received incorrect information and were intending to target a completely different home. Even when it’s a clear case of mistaken identity, a family can be left feeling shaken.

Unfortunately, in all cases, the residents should be on high alert as this initial incident can be indicative of a follow-up attempt by the same perpetrator. It’s best to swiftly install a home security system with a video surveillance feature.

Call ADT Alarm Guard to arrange for next-day installation: 1-866-282-3331.

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