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Thieves target vacant for-sale homes in Lakewood

9:42 PM, Jan 7, 2014   |    comments
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LAKEWOOD - Police are concerned and puzzled about a burglary spree in the Lakewood area.

Thieves are breaking into vacant homes that are for sale and stealing big appliances like refrigerators, dish washers and stoves. Police say stainless steel appliances seem to be the main target.

Six burglaries in Lakewood have been reported in the past few weeks. Police say at least two similar cases are being investigated in Wheat Ridge.

Lakewood Police Spokesperson Steve Davis says thieves are targeting these homes after looking at pictures posted by realtors that clearly show the houses are vacant.

"I can see from the picture if I'm a burglar, that's a pretty nice refrigerator or pretty nice dish washer," Davis explained. "We're asking people to be very careful about the pictures they post."

Police say an additional factor makes the investigation even more puzzling.

"We haven't seen a lot of forced entry, which has us a little concerned," Davis said.

Detectives believe this may be an inside job but say multiple realty companies were affected by these burglaries. Authorities now want to warn all realtors in the Denver metro area about the crime spree.

Ty Dokken, the president of Metro Brokers, says posting pictures of a home online is a major asset when it comes to selling a house.

"It would be tough to sell a house without pictures, or now video, online," Dokken said.

Dokken said appliance thefts were very common during the foreclosure boom. He said all realtors with Metro Brokers are taught to use caution in order to prevent thefts.

Police say the best thing for realtors to do is to let neighbors know a home is vacant and ask them to report suspicious activity.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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