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Holiday Trash Can Be A Thief's Treasure

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Thousands of homeowners are making themselves targets for criminals and do not even know it, but thieves know exactly which homes to target and what to take just by driving down the street.

Like most homeowners on her block, Wendy Lindsay's garbage is packed up and ready to go in her front yard, but her trash could be a thieves' treasure. The empty box on the curb near her house may tell criminals that she has a brand-new home theater system.

"It's just trash. I wouldn't think it would be a clue to what we have inside," she said.

David Winn decided to take out his trash a day early to get it out of the way. In front of his house are boxes for a hockey game and a karaoke machine.

"It makes a lot of sense, an indication of what we have in the home," he said.

Lt. Rick Grayson, of the Raleigh Police Department, said one of the biggest mistakes homeowners make each year is putting expensive gift boxes curbside for garbage collectors.

"A criminal is an opportunist. He's looking for an opportunity," he said. "Obviously, it displays to the criminal what you now have in your house and if that criminal wants it there, there's a possibility he breaks into your house and take it."

Grayson said before you take out the trash, break the boxes down and make sure the name of the product is on the inside. If your trash will not be picked up for a few days, authorities suggest waiting until the morning of trash pick-up to put it out. It will rid your neighborhood of clutter, and protect your valuables at the same time.

"If you could save just one break-in, you're helping out the community," Grayson said.


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