Doorbell burglars leave DC residents on edge

- A string of terrifying burglaries in Northwest Washington has a neighborhood on edge.

These cases start with the criminals ringing the doorbell in the middle of the night. If nobody answers, they break into the home, sometimes while residents are sleeping.

Neighbors tell us the doorbell burglars have struck several times in the Barnaby Woods neighborhood. It happened multiple times late Saturday, Dec. 12 and into the early morning hours of Sunday, Dec. 13 on and around 32nd Street and Aberfoyle Place.

Security company vans are now visible all over the neighborhood as residents beef up their alarm systems and install more surveillance cameras.

Residents say the burglars first ring the doorbell late at night, after 11 p.m. In some cases, cars have been in the driveway and security lights have come on. But if nobody answers the door, neighbors say the burglars have broken into homes, often by busting through a glass window.

We spoke with several neighbors, including some who have had things stolen, including jewelry. But they say the burglars have also surprisingly ignored many valuable items, such as wallets that were left in plain sight. And in two cases, residents say these burglars were heard in a home but left without taking anything.

One of those homeowners, who asked us to conceal his identity, was fast asleep when he was awakened by the frightening sounds of someone in his house.

"I heard some glass break, but I don't remember how that timing was when I finally realized someone was definitely in the house. As I looked up, I saw the silhouette because we didn't have lights on, the silhouette of a guy hooded and caped and dark,” the homeowner said. “He was up on our upstairs foyer, seven feet away from me, when I saw him. I slammed my door and dead bolted it, and at that moment, I didn't know if he would break down the door or riddle it with bullets or take off, and luckily he took off."

That homeowner told us the burglar's face was covered, so he did not get any sort of description of him.

Several neighbors tell us they are frustrated by the police response and lack of communication given the number of break-ins that have happened in this area.

D.C. police declined our request to talk about these crimes. They also will not explain why they released surveillance video Monday of three people and a vehicle of interest in this case and then took that video down Tuesday morning.

 

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