Home surveillance video captures teens suspected in car break-ins

A Westnedge Hill resident's home video surveillance system captured these images of teens suspected of burglarizing cars in the neighborhood. (WWMT/Courtesy of Glenn McDowell){ }

Across Kalamazoo County, 16 cars have been burglarized in the past week.

On Friday, a homeowner's surveillance video revealed a group of teenagers were caught prowling along Milwood Avenue.

Glenn McDowell said he was surprised by the images on his camera.

“Kind of having a little panic attack that someone was outside of our house,” McDowell said. “We looked at our security camera and they were standing next to our vehicles. Four of them were passing by and two of them darted from what looked like our back yard."

McDowell does take a little blame for the break-in.

“We’re very adamant about locking our vehicles and the one night, we forgot to do it,” McDowell said.

The prowlers did make off with something.

“A baby sling,” McDowell said. “So, they'll probably be disappointed when they get up the road and unwrap it."

While it's a small loss for McDowell, it is indicative of a bigger problem. According to Kalamazoo’s crime mapping system, there have been 16 car break ins across the county since last week and 79 in the past month.

“Seems like a lot,” McDowell said. “Certainly cause for alarm. Something needs to be done."

That's why McDowell is sharing his video, hoping to warn others and to send a message.

“For burglars and car thieves, we're watching you,” McDowell said.

The Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office recently shared this message about spotting suspicious behavior.

“Here are behaviors that may be associated with criminal activity:
-- Someone walking down the street looking into multiple vehicles and/or trying door handles to see if the doors will open.
-- Someone taking a package from someone else's property (keep in mind that sometimes neighbors leave or pick up packages for other neighbors).
-- A person who is not your neighbor walking about your neighbor's home and looking into windows, or trying to gain access by forcing open a window or door.
-- A person knocking on your door and asking to speak with someone who does not live there and who may also go to other homes knocking on doors. This is a tactic used by people with the intent to burglarize to see if people are home. (Keep in mind that people may mistakenly go to the wrong home.)
-- Someone claiming to represent a utility company who is either not wearing a uniform, does not produce identification upon request, or does not have a company logo vehicle.
-- Someone using binoculars or other devices to peer into your or your neighbors' homes.
-- At night, a person sitting inside a vehicle that you do not recognize with the lights off for extended period of time.
-- A pushy salesperson not producing identification upon your request or asking to come into your home.
-- A vehicle you do not recognize that is circling multiple times around the neighborhood.
Remember, if you think that a crime may be occurring, or that the safety of you or your neighbors may be at risk, don't hesitate to call 911. You shouldn't worry about using up police time. Calls to 911 will be prioritized based on availability of law enforcement. Your call could be the one that lets us put a stop to the break-ins or a crime streak in your neighborhood. We are happy to check things out!
Also, when calling the non-emergency line extension 3 has been added to this site. It will help you quickly bypass the phone tree to speak with someone in dispatch.”