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With owner away, camera gets video of burglary

Most burglary victims don't have video footage of the crime.

Jim Walters does.

Walters said he and his wife Eleese had previously been robbed twice in six years. They were out of town last weekend when someone struck again.

But Walters, a 63-year-old Bank of America retiree, was prepared. He spent thousands after the second burglary to install a camera surveillance system throughout his home. So he now has footage of someone rummaging through his house for 25 minutes on July 12.

Walters said the burglar took about $12,000 worth of computer equipment and jewelry from his south Charlotte home. He has posted the video on the popular Web site Youtube.com.

“We would really like the public to take a look at the video and help us identify” the burglar, said Rod Golding, south division commander for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

Golding said it's unusual for a resident to have video surveillance equipment inside his home.

“This is the first time I've seen anything like that,” Golding said.

The video shows the burglar shining a flashlight into Walters' windows, shutting the blinds in the bedroom, and sauntering throughout the residence. It was filmed using an infrared camera, so the picture quality makes it hard to give a detailed description of the thief's eye, hair or skin color.

Police suspect the man who burglarized Walters' home also hit another house nearby on the same night.

Michael Talbert arrived home Sunday from a weekend getaway at Lake Wylie and met the same scene Walters was discovering a few miles away. Talbert's alarm system was ripped off the wall; his computer system and his wife's jewelry were gone.

The police report totals $13,805 in stolen goods, including $10,000 in jewelry. But Talbert estimates that the actual amount is “more than double that.”

“It's kind of sickening, isn't it?” he said.

The most prized possession of all – a Mickey Mantle autographed postcard – was also reported missing. Talbert found the damaged card after the police left his home.

For south Charlotte and southern Mecklenburg, property crime is 21 percent higher than at the same time last year, Golding said.

Property crimes for all of Charlotte jumped 9.7 percent in May compared with the same period last year.

The two biggest problems facing the south division are residential burglary and larceny from auto, Golding said. At 130,000 residents, it is by far the largest police division in Charlotte.

The area has 420 neighborhoods and 25 commercial areas spread across about 60 square miles, making it hard to know exactly where to put officers, Golding said.

“Our problem is trying to look at where the crimes are clustering,” said Golding. “The challenge is trying to figure out how to distribute resources to those areas.”

In the case of Walters and Talbert, police have little else but the video to use. The burglar was wearing gloves and left no fingerprints.

Walters, who has spent thousands fortifying his house against criminals, plans to spend thousands more.

“I got smarter. It's easier to do this time,” he said.

Walters and Talbert are offering a reward through Crime Stoppers.

If you have information, call Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police or Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

Most burglary victims don't have video footage of the crime.

Jim Walters does.

Walters said he and his wife Eleese had previously been robbed twice in six years. They were out of town last weekend when someone struck again.

But Walters, a 63-year-old Bank of America retiree, was prepared. He spent thousands after the second burglary to install a camera surveillance system throughout his home. So he now has footage of someone rummaging through his house for 25 minutes on July 12.

Walters said the burglar took about $12,000 worth of computer equipment and jewelry from his south Charlotte home. He has posted the video on the popular Web site Youtube.com.

“We would really like the public to take a look at the video and help us identify” the burglar, said Rod Golding, south division commander for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

Golding said it's unusual for a resident to have video surveillance equipment inside his home.

“This is the first time I've seen anything like that,” Golding said.

The video shows the burglar shining a flashlight into Walters' windows, shutting the blinds in the bedroom, and sauntering throughout the residence. It was filmed using an infrared camera, so the picture quality makes it hard to give a detailed description of the thief's eye, hair or skin color.

Police suspect the man who burglarized Walters' home also hit another house nearby on the same night.

Michael Talbert arrived home Sunday from a weekend getaway at Lake Wylie and met the same scene Walters was discovering a few miles away. Talbert's alarm system was ripped off the wall; his computer system and his wife's jewelry were gone.

The police report totals $13,805 in stolen goods, including $10,000 in jewelry. But Talbert estimates that the actual amount is “more than double that.”

“It's kind of sickening, isn't it?” he said.

The most prized possession of all – a Mickey Mantle autographed postcard – was also reported missing. Talbert found the damaged card after the police left his home.

For south Charlotte and southern Mecklenburg, property crime is 21 percent higher than at the same time last year, Golding said.

Property crimes for all of Charlotte jumped 9.7 percent in May compared with the same period last year.

The two biggest problems facing the south division are residential burglary and larceny from auto, Golding said. At 130,000 residents, it is by far the largest police division in Charlotte.

The area has 420 neighborhoods and 25 commercial areas spread across about 60 square miles, making it hard to know exactly where to put officers, Golding said.

“Our problem is trying to look at where the crimes are clustering,” said Golding. “The challenge is trying to figure out how to distribute resources to those areas.”

In the case of Walters and Talbert, police have little else but the video to use. The burglar was wearing gloves and left no fingerprints.

Walters, who has spent thousands fortifying his house against criminals, plans to spend thousands more.

“I got smarter. It's easier to do this time,” he said.

Walters and Talbert are offering a reward through Crime Stoppers.

If you have information, call Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police or Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

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