CHURCH HILL, VA (WWBT) - Richmond Police are investigating a burglary in the Church Hill neighborhood that happened following a yard sale.
Officers were called to the 600 block of North 30th Street Sunday afternoon for a home break-in.
In a post from a closed neighborhood Facebook group, the homeowner stated their home had been "ransacked".
"We saw there was a yard sale going on, and then I think it was the next day there were a couple of police officers talking to the homeowner and we didn't really know what was going on," said Josh Le, a neighbor.
"I think it's just a reminder that everyone needs to stay vigilant," said Sarah Schmucker, another neighbor. "It can happen."
Police believe the break-in happened sometime between 6 p.m. on Saturday and noon Sunday.
Schmucker said she wasn't aware of the situation but said nowadays there's always a possibility a crime could happen.
"People may stop by and just canvas the area just to see what you have or what you may not have," added Lt. Ken Roane with the Richmond Police Department.
Roane said there are a few things people can do to protect their homes as yard sale season starts up.
Those tips include:
- Make sure you have others helping you during the yard sale
- Keep the money in an apron, or bag attached to you, not in a jar or lock box out in the open
- Be aware of your surroundings and with whom you interact
"Secure all your doors whether it be the front and back, because it could only take a moment for you to be distracted, and someone slip by you and possibly get in your [home]," Roane said.
Le and other neighbors said it's troubling to hear about a break-in on their street following a simple yard sale.
While specific details about the yard sale burglary were not available due to the investigation, Roane said he didn't hear about this type of crime happening 10 to 20 years ago.
"Unfortunately as time changes and things evolve, you never can be too prepared for anything that comes about," he said.
"It allows you to get close to the person and see what's going on and talk to the homeowner," Le said.
While Le and Schmucker said they haven't had a situation like this unfold following a yard sale, they both have been victims crime in the Church Hill neighborhood as recent as this week.
"My tires were slashed probably about three months ago," Le said.
"Even somebody just taking a [wicker rocking] chair off my porch I felt really violated," Schmucker said. "Like this is my house why did you do that?"
Roane said when it comes to crime in the Church Hill neighborhood he's seen an increase in car thefts.
Data from the 1st Precinct, which covers neighborhoods like Church Hill, Union Hill, and Shockoe Bottom show 132 vehicle thefts this year through May 27.
Police urge residents to report any suspicious activity in the area, while homeowners suggest surveillance and security systems.
"I have an alarm system, two dogs... We just try to stay vigilant," Schmucker said.
Anyone with information about the home burglary following the yard sale is asked to call 1st Precinct Det. A. Partain at (804) 646-0774 or contact Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000 or online. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smart phones may also be used. All three Crime Stoppers methods of contact are anonymous.
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