A burglar is suspected of walking right into busy houses full of people and ripping them off. Police said he pulled off the unusual crime in Lenexa and Leawood.
Lenexa police said the bold burglar wasn't like most. He targeted places where the more people around, the better, which gave him a chance to slip in and out with a little something extra.
"I was walking out when I heard the door," Dirk Eiterick said.
When Eiterick was getting his carpets cleaned at his Lenexa, KS, home, the temperatures outside were freezing. So, with a hose running through his front door, he had a box stopping the door from swinging all the way open. When he heard the box slide across the floor, he assumed it was the wind, but it wasn't.
"He stood on the stairs when I saw him," Eiterick said.
Eiterick said he saw a man heading upstairs, but the carpet cleaners were downstairs. When questioned, the man told Eiterick he was there for a termite inspection. The problem was that Eiterick hadn't hired anyone for pest control and proceeded to ask the man to leave.
Eiterick also noticed the man had no uniform, no documentation, no reason to be in his home at all except the story he was telling.
"While he was leaving, I was thinking nothing was right about this," he said.
While police were at the home, another call came in. Just a few miles away, a babysitter at a home where there were also workers encountered the same man with the same termite inspection story. This time police said when the woman went to call the homeowner to confirm the story, the man went upstairs and stole $3,000 worth of jewelry.
But in that incident the babysitter got the man's license plate.
Police arrested 51-year-old Richard Porterfield. He's also suspected of a similar burglary where, again, there were workers at the home, this time in Leawood, KS. There again jewelry was taken and the homeowners suffered a loss of $6,500.
"It makes you aware of what could happen. We have an alarm system obviously but, in this case, it doesn't work," Eiterick said.
Police are investigating if Porterfield might be connected to any other burglaries and ask that if anyone encounters someone using a similar ruse, they call police.
There are a number of simple steps people can take to reduce the chances that a burglar will hit their home. They include not announcing trips on Facebook or other social media because burglars are online, too. It's also recommended to not leave the boxes from expensive purchases on the curb. Inside a home, people should conceal valuables like jewelry and cash and don't leave them lying out where they are easy to spot if someone does break in.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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