Home Burglaries on the Rise in Southwest Missouri - KOAM TV 7

Home Burglaries on the Rise in Southwest Missouri


Imagine walking into your home to find all your important documents scattered, your TV and computer missing and windows and doors wide open. it's a scary thought, and for two Missouri residents, it was real life.

"I couldn't believe somebody would have the audacity to come into your house and take everything that you've worked so hard to get." says Tina Smith, a Joplin resident who's home was burglarized.

Southwest Missouri officials have been warning residents that home invasions are on the rise, and can be extremely dangerous, especially with the recent events taking place in Newton county with the deatH of 58-year old Jeffrey Slama.

Newton County Chief Deputy Chris Jennings tells us the department has been working non-stop with investigators to find the man responsible for Slama's death. They have been following up on multiple leads.

But when it comes to home invasions, he says they can be dangerous.

"People can sometimes tell if the house is unoccupied. You need to remedy that especially if you're gone." Jennings says.

For Tina Smith, coming home from a family vacation to find over $70,000 worth of items stolen from her rural home was a shocker, and one that has instilled fear in her, and her family. She said she's not taking any chances when someone approaches her door.

"I've got a new handgun, and I took our concealed carry class, and I don't leave home without my gun now." she says.

Jennings says the majority of burglaries in Newton County involve homes where no one is present at the time of the crime, but he says confrontations can happen.

"Most burglars are in and out of the house in just seconds. So they're not going to take time and go thru everything in their house. They'll see something high in value and take off." Jennings says.

For Nathan Dagley, he returned home from a day trip to find documents scattered through his home and backyard, along with his television missing.

"I didn't even think if anyone was inside, I just went inside my house and it was a mess." Dagley says.

Electronic items were taken from both Dagley's and Smith's homes, which is common for thieves to steal. But authorities say it is possible to trace these items.

"Everyone is bad about recording their serial numbers. If we have serial numbers, sometimes it goes a long way. We have systems in our computers with pawn shops and one thing or another, we locate things by serial numbers." Jennings says.

Other items thieves look for are guns, jewelry, and loose cash.

Smith and Dagley's cases remain open. No suspect has been caught, and neither has received their items back.

Both say they are investing in alarm systems, and will continue to keep their doors locked.


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