Neighbors speak out after burglaries

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News 12 at 11, February 23, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga. --- A string of home burglaries may now be solved. Richmond County investigators said two burglary suspects, Richard Strickland and Jessica Jackson, were arrested Friday afternoon after allegedly breaking-in to 25 homes, and Strickland's brother, James Strickland, was arrested Friday after the stolen property from the burglaries was found in his apartment.

In all, hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of possessions were stolen from 25 houses. This all started at the end of January when investigators started noticing a lot of residential burglaries in Hephzibah and then in West Augusta. Neighbors said they're glad it's finally stopped.

Lucas Frentzel has lived on Wilkshire Drive for more than a year.

"No I've never had any problem with noise or crime or people coming up on my property at all. It's just real nice," Lucas Frentzel said.

But that all changed recently. Several houses on the 2400 block of Wilkshire Drive were hit. Neighbors said they were surprised that so many burglaries happened in their quiet neighborhood. Now they're taking extra precaution.

"Especially when I found out there was a pattern over and over and over. My neighbor had been broken into, so that's when I told my roomate...I was like we gotta do something about this and make sure we always have a car here sometime during the or I come by the house because a lot of times were gone during the day and that's when it was broad day light," Frentzel said.

Investigators said the burglars would kick in the back door, cut the phone lines, and ransack the house. The main items stolen were jewelry, guns, TV's, camcorders, and laptop computers.

"I was really worried because I was thinking we were going to be the next one and I was surprised we hadn't been broken into already, especially since the fact everybody around us has been," Frentzel said.

Lucas said he was shocked when he found out his next door neighbor's house was broken into and weapons were stolen.

"It's real nice area and all the houses are relatively close and everybody's really nice and it just doesn't seem like anybody from this area would do that, so I was really surprised," Frentzel said.

He said his neighborhood has come together through all of this and are more serious about watching each other's houses and looking for any suspicious activity. Despite the worry, Lucas said he won't be moving.

"I mean it was disturbing that people were breaking-in but not so much that oh I just need to leave this area because it's a nice area. It's real convenient and safe up till now," Frentzel said.

So here's how you can protect yourself if some of your property gets stolen. Investigators said you should write down the serial numbers on valuable items like TV's, Play Stations, and weapons. That way if the stolen items are recovered, that serial number will help identify your items in order to get them back.

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