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Fayetteville homeowner uses sign to warn neighbors of burglaries

The sign that Pat Leal put up on Tuesday reads, "This home was robbed. You're next. Pay attention."

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — A Fayetteville homeowner has put up a plywood sign in his front yard to warn neighbors about a rash of burglaries in the area.

“Really, it was done out of frustration,” said Pat Leal, of McNeill Circle.

The sign, which Leal put up on Tuesday, reads, “This home was robbed. You’re next. Pay attention."

“That’s my way of saying, ‘Hey, we’re all getting broken into. We all have to pay attention,’” he said Friday. “I wrote ‘You’re next’ to get their attention.”

Before the April 9 robbery, he thought something like that would never happen to him, Leal said.

“I thought I lived in an area that was a little bit more community-minded,” he said.

One week ago, Leal said, someone kicked in his back door and took a flat-screen television and jewelry his wife inherited from her deceased mother. No one was home at the time.

“If I hadn’t put the sign up, it wouldn’t have been publicized. My neighbors wouldn’t have known I was broken into,” he said.

Leal’s brother, who lives nearby on Fort Bragg Road, said his house was also broken into last month, and a computer was stolen.

Despite the two break-ins, police records show there hasn’t been an uptick in burglaries in the area. Since Jan. 1, 19 break-ins have been reported in the area along Morganton and McPherson Church roads, police said.

Leal's break-in was the first reported on McNeill Circle this year.

Leal said that his message isn’t about crime statistics, but about making his neighbors realize that a burglary can happen anywhere, at anytime and to anyone.

He said he hopes the sign will encourage his neighbors to get more active in the community.


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