RALEIGH, N.C. — Police are stepping up patrols and trying to find those responsible for a series of home break-ins in west and northwest Raleigh.
"When I drove up into the driveway, I noticed a young woman standing at the door. And she was gone just in a flash," Marvin Wilson said.
The homeowner came home while a robbery was in progress.
"I didn't realize, apparently, that I was in more danger than I thought I was," he said.
Gwen Wilson believes the thieves had been watching the couple through the windows. She said they went right for the silver chest in the dining room, but did not have enough time to leave with it.
Police say those responsible for the break-ins have focused on stealing valuable silver pieces and jewelry, and they have targeted established neighborhoods where such items might be likely to be found.
The value of the stolen property from five break-ins over the past two weeks is estimated in the tens of thousands of dollars. Police say the break-ins have happened during the day, and generally when people are running short errands.
"I think there may have been two or three people involved in it," homeowner Gwen Wilson said.
Scratched paint remains where the Wilsons' back door was pried open.
Since the break-in, the couple has installed a deadbolt lock and never leave home without setting the alarm.
"We just never bothered to put the security alarm on because I knew I was coming right back. But I also was not aware how quickly thieves can work," Marvin Wilson said.
Police are asking citizens to lock their doors and windows when they leave home, and urge those with alarm systems to set the alarm when they are going out.
They say it is also a good idea to either close curtains and blinds or move valuables so they cannot be seen through windows.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Raleigh investigators at (919) 890-3555.