DATE: Monday, Oct. 23
TIME: 4:40 p.m.
PLACE: 5700 block of Velasco

Ivan Leal, a maintenance man for several years, was doing repair work for a neighborhood client when someone swiped his tools from the back of his F-150 truck.

“It’s kind of funny because when I arrived at the customer’s house, they warned me about someone who looked suspicious and was driving through the neighborhood,” Leal says.

Leal hung around the front of the house to keep an eye on his truck. But it wasn’t long before Leal’s job required him to go to the back of the home. While in the back yard, Leal says he heard a tailgate drop, and he immediately rushed to the front of the house to check on his truck.

“Everything happened so fast,” Leal says. “When I came back to the front yard, I saw two white males getting back into their truck with my things.”

The stolen items — a total loss worth just over $1,000 — were supplies from Leal’s maintenance business, including a recently purchased blue power-plumbing snake. Leal says the thieves also damaged his tailgate as they were removing the plumbing snake from his truck bed.

“I guess I should have known it was about to happen since I was warned about it,” Leal says. “My first reaction was to jump in my truck and follow them, but it would have been too late since they took off as soon as I saw them.”

Leal doesn’t remember many details about the burglary other than the burglars driving off in a black Sonoma.

“I have worked in the area since that incident, and I saw that same truck,” he says. “I may have been paranoid, but before I could decide whether to follow them or not, they took off again.”

Sr. Cpl. Ron Carpenter of the Northeast Patrol Division says that people should make every effort to secure their valuables.

“People must understand that burglars don’t understand what it means to save their money to buy something they want,” Carpenter says. “All they do is ride around, looking for a crime of opportunity. I can’t say it enough, but as long as your items are in perfect view of a thief, they are going to take that opportunity.”

Sometimes people tend to get careless with their belongings, and Carpenter acknowledges that he has been guilty of this, too.

“About three years ago, someone jumped over my fence to steal a lawnmower from my back yard,” Carpenter says. “While I was preaching to others about protecting their valuables, the very same thing happened to me. Think of it this way: To a thief, stealing your stuff is easier than going to Sears and buying their own. All I can recommend is to not leave anything that you don’t want stolen unattended.”

Leal says he has learned from the situation and hopes it won’t happen again.

“Usually I never lock up anything, including my truck. But now I am more alert of what goes on around me so I keep everything locked.”

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