The targets

Mon, Aug 20, 2012, 01:00

The items most sought after by burglars

GARDAÍ WITH experience of investigating burglariesand dealing with often traumatised victims say burglars will steal anything from your house that they can easily carry and sell on. Cash is top of their wish list and they will ransack your house to find it.

Gardaí advise householders not to leave cash out – on tables or countertops – and to never leave any money that can be seen from anyone looking in the windows.

“Guys might come up to the house for a quick look to see if there are easy pickings,” says one Garda source. “If they can’t see anything very quickly they just might move on. But if you leave money out that they can see you’re literally inviting them in and making them pretty determined to get in. In the first instance, it’s best not to have lots of money at home anyway.”

Says one garda: “For valuables, we’d really advise getting a safe in the house. They can be small and discreet – but some of them are very heavy and you wouldn’t be able to carry them away.”

If a house alarm is activated it means most burglars will not linger too long for fear of neighbours or gardaí arriving on the scene, so if money is put away in a safe place where it might take some time to find, there is a good chance it will not be discovered.

“After cash they’re looking for jewellery because they can sell it,” says one Garda source.

“With so many people having cameras on their phones now, you should take a photo of your pieces of jewellery. We’ve had countless cases where we’ve recovered stolen property but we can’t find the owner. At least if you can give us a photo of any stolen jewellery, we can share that internally and increase the chances of you being reunited with it if it is recovered.”

Other sought-after items are laptop computers, iPads, iPhones, PlayStations and Xbox games consoles.

“They’ll [steal] things like plasma TVs too but they’re harder to take away,” said a Garda source.

Gardaí advise recording any serial numbers from such items and say electronic goods should not be clearly visible from outside.

Burglars are still using fishing rods through letter boxes to hook car keys that have been left on hallside tables.

“It’s not an urban myth,” said one Garda source. “Once they have the keyring hooked on the thin end of the rod then just pull the rod back out the letter box and get the keys in their hands, [they are] ready to drive your car away.”

People should not be afraid to bring their car keys upstairs with them at night for fear of burglars going upstairs to look for them.

“But the golden rule is that if you’re challenged for the keys, then hand them over.”