It was chilling enough for Mark Demers to realize that burglars in broad daylight kicked in the front door of his Ahwatukee home and ransacked it—escaping just one minute before police arrived.
But his blood ran cold when he saw the video his security camera caught of the five teenaged hoodlums as they ran from a white pickup toward the door.
One punk, likely no older than 18 — if that — turned back to the truck to get a gun.
Fortunately, neither Demers nor his wife were around at their home in the 16000 block of South 23rd Place when the burglary occurred late morning on July 23.
Even more fortunately, the hood with the gun didn’t use it on either of his 4-year-old boxers who were inside the home as the five teens pulled out every drawer, overturned the mattresses and couch seats and even tried to unhinge a 70-inch TV from the wall.
“I feel fortunate,” Demers said. “No one hurt the dogs. My wife wasn’t home. I wasn’t home. I don’t know what would have happened if my wife would have answered the door.”
Because his camera was trained on the walkway leading to the front door, the video only shows the four hoods getting out of the truck—four wearing gloves.
But the evidence of their 10-minute “visit” was there when Demers arrived after police telephoned him.
Paint had been spilled on the garage floor. The frame of the front door was splintered and had to be replaced. Missing were some sentimental pieces of jewelry and a couple expensive purses.
Between the damage to the door and a few missing items, Demers figures he’s out about $2,000.
“It looks like they were look for cash or jewelry—or maybe drugs,” he said.
It could have been much worse, he figures, had it not been for good neighbors.
One neighbor had seen the truck following a delivery truck down the street.
A short time later, she peaked out the window and saw the truck parked in front of Demers’ house and the five teens piling out of the cab and marching deliberately toward the front door.
She phoned 9-1-1 and police arrived in 12 minutes—one minute after the invaders had taken off.
Another neighbor had taken down the license plate and Demers said he had heard that a truck with that plate was seen in a parking lot on 40th Place in Mountain Park Ranch about two hours after the break-in.
Several teens were seen getting out of the vehicle, one carrying a TV.
“So they went to another place after they came here and grabbed a TV from someone,” Demers said.
He said police said the truck had been stolen and that the plate was taken from yet another vehicle, leading investigators to a dead end.
Demers was disgusted by the thought of kids who “probably get up in the morning and go hang out with their friends. They hopped in this truck that they stole, that they parked remotely. So, right before school starts in a week or two, they’re going to burglarize as many homes as they can.”
He is trying to spread his video to as many social media outlets as he can, convinced that the thieves live in Ahwatukee.
“I’m hoping someone recognizes them or maybe a parent sees their kid suddenly with a TV, they’ll call the police,” Demers said.
“Or maybe someone who knows them will recognize them,” he added, noting that even though it’s nearly impossible to make out their faces, he’s hoping someone recognizes them from their clothing or their build.
Demers finds hope in the fact that the hoods weren’t completely bright.
The one who didn’t wear gloves “left plenty of fingerprints on the wall-mounted TV.
“The police dusted it for fingerprints so they have a lot of prints if they have catch them,” he said.
Demers doesn’t know why the teens left so quickly, since it doesn’t appear as if the police employed their siren as they raced to the scene.
Demers is installing a security door, still stunned by the brazen act.
And he’s hoping that his home-security camera will ultimately be responsible for the teens’ capture.
“They better hope the police catch them before a homeowner with a gun does.”
People who may recognize the suspects can call Phoenix Police or provide information anonymously to Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS (480-948-6377).