Think you’ve heard it all? Think again! Though you may not hear very often about burglaries committed in Ontario, nowhere is 100% safe from crime. These recent Ontario burglaries may have you shocked, surprised, or just scratching your head.
Burglaries and home invasions can make people feel unsafe in their own home. If you’re interested in learning about ways of preventing burglaries, contact Jay360 today to learn more about security cameras, access control systems, and more!
Top 10 Ontario Burglaries: Lessons Learned
The following list highlights some of the most shocking recent Ontario burglaries. It also explains the lessons learned from each incident, so that we can hopefully begin to cut down on the amount of burglaries as well as raise awareness about simple ways to protect yourself and your home.
10. Hiding Out
In December 2016, after receiving an alert from a burglar alarm, Peel Regional Police responded to a home invasion in Brampton, ON. Officers arrived at the scene and, after searching every inch of the house, eventually discovered a man hiding in the home’s attic. Because the suspect was caught before he could even leave the home, nothing was actually stolen. It is reported that the homeowners were away at the time.
Lessons learned: Burglar alarms do make a difference! Without the alarm, police would likely have not known about the burglary until the homeowners returned – and the burglar could have found more victims before then! Thankfully for everyone, this burglar was caught on the scene.
9. Violent Nighttime Burglary
In October 2015, police searched for four suspects after armed burglars broke into a Brampton, ON home at midnight. Residents were at home during the time. One resident of the home was assaulted and taken to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries. Many home invasions in Canada do not involve guns. However, like this case, it is not unheard of and can be deeply emotionally and mentally traumatic to the victims.
Lessons learned: Though most burglaries do happen during the day, it is important to remember that they can still happen at night. Because of this, it’s important to have security systems in place and a plan ready in case this happens to you. Remember, if you are home during an invasion, always comply with perpetrators. No item is worth your life.
8. Unlocked Doors and Cleaned Floors
In 2013, 8 odd burglaries happened over the span of two months in Aurora, ON. It appears that the burglar would knock on the door, see if anyone was home, and then enter. However, almost all of the burglarized homes contained zero evidence of forced entry – the burglar appears to only enter through already unlocked doors. The suspected burglar also cleaned up some of the houses after breaking and entering, making it difficult for victims to notice the burglary right away. One homeowner was home when the alleged perpetrator walked in.
The homeowner said: “There was a knock at my door and before I could open it a woman had walked in wearing nylon gloves. I asked her what she was doing in my house and she handed me a gift card and quickly turned around and left.” – Mike Walker reports from barrie.ctvnews.ca
Lessons learned: Keep your doors locked! This Aurora burglar was an opportunist, as most burglars are. Why bother with a locked door when there are plenty of unlocked ones? Even when you’re home, keep those doors locked. As the one homeowner found witnessed, a burglar made a mistake and just walked in while he was at home. He was lucky to receive a gift card out of it, but the outcome could have been much worse.
7. Violent Daylight Burglary
In January 2016, a violent home invasion took place in Woodbridge, ON. Two men forced their way through a locked door, demanded money from the unsuspecting victim, and then assaulted him. The victim was taken to the hospital and sustained non life-threatening injuries. Police concluded that these types of crimes have been on the rise in southern York Region.
Lessons learned: Though many people equate break-ins with nighttime, the truth is that most break-ins actually happen during the day when burglars assume people are at work or school.
6. The Funeral Burglars
In 2014, a slew of burglaries happened in the Waterloo, ON region. Though most of the burglaries happened in Kitchener, Cambridge, and Waterloo, others reported burglaries happening as far as Woodstock, ON. Between January and March 2014, 12 victims were targeted while attending close family’s funerals or visitations. The alleged perpetrators were eventually caught, and accused of using online obituaries to discover when their next victims would not be at home. Already grieving victims returned home to find their beloved items missing and their houses ransacked. This not only left them with monetary damages but with emotional trauma.
Lessons learned: Unfortunately, people continue to prey on the unsuspecting. This case shows that some people will take advantage of others in their most vulnerable moments. Because of this unfortunate truth, it’s important to be prepared for the worst, so that in times of personal vulnerability, your home will not be targeted.
5. International Burglary
In September 2016, an Ontario couple watched a man break into their Florida vacation house. However, the couple was not in Florida at the time. No, they were in their Ontario home and watched the break-in via a security webcam. After submitting the tape to the authorities, deputies in Florida were able to arrest the suspect.
Lessons learned: Setting up security systems is important when you have one home to worry about, but even more important when you have two! A vacation home is often vacant for long periods of time, and this Ontario couple may not have found out about the burglary until months later if that did not have a security camera.
4. The Missing Mannequins
In the summer of 2016, a strange slew of thefts began to happen in Belleville, ON – female mannequins went missing from various shops. People were not aware of why the mannequins were stolen, but it was clear that just the mannequins, not the clothing on them, were the target. Clothes on the mannequins were ripped off and left on the ground. This weird crime has left both victims and police scratching their heads.
Lessons learned: Though you may laugh at the thought of someone going around to stores stealing mannequins, this is still a crime. It’s important to remember that thieves and burglars don’t always take what you might expect. Though mannequins seem low in value compared to jewelry or expensive dresses, they were still being targeted. That’s why setting up a security system in your store or a commercial lot, even if you believe your items are of lesser value, is still important.
3. The 11-Year-Old “Thief”
In 2016, police responded to reports of an erratic-moving vehicle on Highway 400 in Vaughn, ON. Police were shocked when they eventually caught the suspect. Instead of a drunk driver, they found an 11-year-old boy who had stolen his parent’s vehicles and taken it on a wild ride after playing the popular video game Grand Theft Auto. In Grand Theft Auto, players steal cars, go on high-speed chases, and commit violent crimes. Police did not charge the 11-year-old.
Lessons learned: Although this a unique and unlikely case, this situation should remind us that sometimes a burglar or thief is someone we may know. Though this 11-year-old boy made a horribly dangerous decision, it’s clear he did not mean to hurt anyone and didn’t understand the full consequences of his actions. In other cases, a burglar is someone that you know – maybe your handyman or another service provider. Be aware of anyone in your home and always report suspicious behaviour.
2. The “Spiderman” Project
In 2014, police nicknamed a thief “Spiderman,” after the suspect used highly sophisticated tools to break into high-end Toronto, ON and Vaughn, ON homes. The thief scaled walls to avoid motion sensors and even cut holes through roofs to gain access to to the attic. Like something out of an action movie, police reported that millions of dollars in property were stolen by this criminal between 2010 – 2014. The “Spiderman” thief faced 31 breaking and entering charges.
Lessons learned: Although most burglars are opportunistic, the case of the “Spiderman” thief shows that sometimes, these attacks are well thought out and planned. Remember to always report suspicious behaviour and make sure your alarm systems are engaged 24/7.
1. “The King of Car Thieves”
In November 2016, police busted a wide-scale car theft ring in Vaughn, ON. Among those caught was a man dubbed “The King of Car Thieves.” This man, the alleged ringleader of the ring, was semi-famous. “The King of Car Thieves” was actually profiled on the History Channel true crime TV show called Mastermind in 2000. Many expensive stolen vehicles, such as Lamborghinis and Maseratis were recovered by police. This group of thieves also stole cargo, and was later linked to an entire truckload of stolen Nutella!
Lessons learned: Many of the cars were stolen from homes after the thieves broke in and took car keys from unsuspecting homeowners. Keep your car keys in a safe location, away from windows and doors. If you have a garage, try to keep your car inside and make it difficult to access and less visible to possible burglars.
This top 10 Ontario Burglaries list shows that theft and home invasions can happen to anyone. We see that although most burglars are opportunistic, in some cases, the crimes were well thought out and thoroughly planned. Even though most home burglaries happen during the day, there are exceptions. That’s why it’s important to always be prepared. Learning how burglars case a house and knowing what to do if it happens to you can help prevent a first or second burglary.