Police are still searching for the man who entered an Ahwatukee Foothills condominium Oct. 10, assaulted the 90-year-old resident, then held her for 90 minutes while he robbed her residence and took her car.
Police say the intruder gained entry by slipping in an open kitchen window.
“It’s that time of year when the weather is cooler and people leave their windows open,” said Officer Rick Tamburo.
But, he warned, it’s also that time of year where burglars can case-out a home or apartment complex, looking for open windows and then returning in the night and gaining entry, even while the residents sleep.
Home invasions and assaults like the one to the 90-year-old victim are rare, but do occur in Ahwatukee Foothills and city-wide, police say.
Several years ago Deputy Police Chief Kevin Robinson, an Ahwatukee Foothills resident, discovered two would-be burglars trying to get into his home through a sliding glass door in the middle of the night.
Five years ago a serial rapists entered three Ahwatukee Foothills residences in three months, using open or unlocked windows or doors.
And in 2007 burglars used open or unlocked windows to gain entry into several homes in one Ahwatukee Foothills neighborhood and stole credit cards, valuables and even a car, while the residents slept.
“It doesn’t happen often, but an open or unlocked window gives burglars an opportunity,” Tamburo said.
To help cut the odds of becoming a victim, the two Community Action Officers assigned to Ahwatukee Foothills to help with crime prevention have some simple advice:
• “Enjoy the weather, but before you go to bed secure the perimeter by locking doors and windows,” said Officer Chad Williamsen.
• “Even if you are home, be conscious of which windows are open,” Tamburo said.
• “Keep your home well lit all night long,” so burglars have no place to hide,” Williamsen said.
• “And don’t ignore the backyard,” which people sometimes forget to check because they assume that it is secure simply because it’s behind the house, Tamburo noted.
And if someone does try to enter your home?
“Leave immediately,” go to a safe location, like a neighbor’s home and call police, Tamburo said.
For more information on crime prevention tips or how to organize a local Block Watch, contact Tamburo, (602) 534-2892, or Williamsen, (602) 534-6534.
Anyone with information on the Oct. 10 assault of the 90-year-old woman is asked to call Crime Stop at (602) 262-6151.