OVERLEA, Md. — Just how safe is your backyard?
Michael Irungu learned his wasn't safe enough, even though he makes sure his shed is locked at night when he gets home from work.
"I came out the next morning to grab my lawnmower, and that's when I realized that someone had broken into the shed – cut the locks,” said Irungu, “He didn't take anything, but he had broken the lock."
Neighbors soon learned that the burglars had struck five sheds along one block of Belhaven Drive in a single night, and the crimes didn't stop there.
"Then we found out a couple up the street were broken into, and then we found out in the whole neighborhood, there was about 15 of them broken into and a bunch on this street," said Fred Gianotti, one of the victims’ neighbors.
Officer Jennifer Peach of the Baltimore County Police Department says similar burglaries have recently been spread over the Wilkens, Towson and Parkville precincts.
"What we believe is that it is the same person or group of people that are committing these shed burglaries," said Peach, "There always is some value to equipment or anything you can find in your shed – tools, and especially anything that is made out of metal – because they will take those things to a recycle center."
Police say to better protect your property, you should use shackle or disc brake locks that can't be disabled in seconds with a bolt cutter, make sure your out buildings have sturdy windows and doors, and install lighting or cameras to protect the back of your home, much like you would the front of it.
"I was very, very upset, especially because I have little kids. It really got me concerned,” said Irungu, “I had to put on security lights. I had to go buy security lights. If you look up here, you see I have some sensors all over the house, and the house has security cameras now so I'm really concerned."