Florida's Collier County residents have a new fear on the block: masked home invaders. But really, they're more like home walker-inners, because in the five reported cases, they got in via an unlocked door.
A task force was assembled on April 7 to figure out anything about these home invasions that began mid-February in which residents are held at gunpoint and bound. It's not clear if these crimes are related.
But apparently, the intruders prefer occupied homes, figuring they can get a lot more this way (e.g., being directed to the safe and given the combination). And they're quite adept at evading authorities; no details on the masked intruders are out, even though investigators are really hammering away at figuring this out, meeting every morning.
Residents are being urged to contact the sheriff's office about suspicious activity, such as an idling car in a street, and just to trust their gut instincts about something seeming out of place.
As long as people continue leaving their doors unlocked, these invaders will continue having a field day with their crimes. Police are adamant that residents keep their doors locked, and keeping their alarms on (if they have one) even when they're home.
Residents should consider putting valuables in a safe-deposit box located at their bank, and put up security cameras, a proven deterrent to home invasions and burglaries.
Thus far, compliant occupants of the invaded homes have not been harmed, but one who tried to escape was injured enough to require hospitalization. The task force won't give up until the perpetrators are stopped.