Special Report: Mind of a burglar - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Special Report: Mind of a burglar

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Almost 25,000 homes were burglarized in Mississippi last year according to Neighborhood Scout. In the Chesterfield, Virginia area, that number was 3,400 homes, about nine a day.

It's a complete invasion of your privacy, your sanctuary. Burglaries seem so random but we've discovered, the criminals are watching you, long before breaking in. 

100 Virginia inmates were surveyed. They are sitting in jail for burglary at this very moment. 

We asked them to fill out this survey to find out what deters them and why they ultimately pick you, your home, your family. 

Nearly every inmate told us they always watched any home they were about to hit; some staking it out for two days prior to the crime.

They say they looked for  "When they go to work? If they were home. Do they have any kids? Do they have any pets?" 

"What kind of car to expect and to see. how the neighbors move," wrote one inmate.

"Watching. Making sure everybody's gone. What time they leave. What time they get back, said Nakicia Spellman."

Kicia Spellman would know, she's been in the prison system 12 years. She's heard it all from her fellow inmates and was even involved in a burglary in her 20's.

"That's insane, to go into someone's house that you don't know," said Spellman. "You don't know what's in there; who's in there. Yeah, that's not normal behavior."

She says it's usually desperation, often involving a drug addiction. 

"When you're on drugs, you do things that you wouldn't never do if you were sober," added Spellman.   

Her addiction to prescription drugs played a big role in her incarceration. She's on work release right now-- and wanted to help us tell this story. 

In our survey, a majority of the inmates told us they actually knock on your door before breaking in, to make sure you aren't there. 
If you answer?

"I would act like I'm a salesman," said one inmate.  "Make up a random name. "Ask for directions."  

"Spout a line about some kind of contracting estimate," said another inmate. 

"It don't have to be nighttime. it can be any time of day," added Spellman.

Windows were the number one choice for entry. Once inside, burglars told us they went straight to the bedroom. They always checked the bedside drawers. 

Cash is king. They wanted money and jewelry above anything else. 

"Make sure your door is locked," said Spellman. "Make sure your windows locked. Make sure you get detectors around your house that work."   

Dogs made our inmates think twice. 

"If it was a little dog, I wasn't scared," wrote one inmate. "A big dog, yes I was scared."

"I don't want to be bit by a dog," said another. 

Though having one isn't a sure-fire way to avoid becoming a target. One inmate, ominously suggested they'd kill the dog. 

"Kill the son of a bitch," wrote an inmate.

Kicia Spellman's on a new path. She's going to be released this summer. She has a job. A hope for her future. 

"My way of thinking is different," said Spellman. "I see things in a whole different aspect." 

Inmates told us over and over, have your neighbors keep an eye on your home; watch out for each other. If you see a strange person or car, report it. Call police.

While warning signs of security services in your yard don't really deter a burglar, loud alarm systems, attached to the windows, do seem to scare them off.

The inmates also said get a gun.  

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