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Fear & Loading: Video Captures Criminals at “Work”

The number of techniques criminals employ to victimize law-abiding citizens is staggering, and grows every day. Becoming educated and staying aware is a critical safety component in everything we do, but you can’t always believe what you read or hear. We can, however, trust and learn from a home-invasion video recently released by the Fremont, Calif., Police Department.

Local law enforcement hopes a member of the public who sees the video—captured by home surveillance cameras in the victim’s home—will recognize one of the criminals and contact the department. The incident began when a mother and daughter returned home at 10:45 p.m. on Dec. 8.

Four armed and masked criminals swarmed through the garage door and then started the shoving, hair pulling and knot tying that ultimately, according to one news report, injured the youngest victim slightly. The edited 1.5-minute video doesn’t contain the violence, thankfully, but there are things worth noting. We’ve heard the advice many times, but in this case the criminals deliver the sermon.  

There doesn’t seem to be any haste in their search. I’ve never been a member of law enforcement, but the armchair sleuth in me thinks it’s obvious they know the gals are alone for the evening and no one is arriving soon. The quartet scoured the place for somewhere between 45 minutes and an hour. Did they do surveillance beforehand?  Was there too much conversation with a seemingly innocent delivery driver?

The video’s intro indicates the victims left the door from the garage into the house open, which is slightly different than the other report. Either way, the incident highlights the importance of closing and locking doors immediately (regardless of the time of day), and making sure landscaping/bushes don’t provide convenient hiding spots for criminals. The perpetrators had to be nearby when they pulled up the driveway.

This one’s new on me. Suspect No. 1 faces the camera talking into his gloved hand—probably the only way he can hold the intelligent side of a conversation—but his thumb smartly releases just before he turns and moves away. Walkie-talkie in contact with unrecorded suspect watching the street in getaway car? Hand puppet? Cell phone habit? Tourette’s? No nosey neighbors noticed a suspicious occupied vehicle for at least an hour?

You do have to admit the quartet’s fashionable enough to attract attention. The belt-wearing thugs’ cutting-edge ability to flash more underwear than a lingerie catalog adds a certain panache, as do the bright and shiny white or pink sneakers contrasted against a dark ensemble. Suspect No. 3’s tube-socks-for-gloves statement is a headliner. Nothing at all suspicious when they walk through the neighborhood—just another group of models lost on their way to the runway.

Thankfully injuries were minor, but fingers on triggers mean things could have turned tragic, quickly, even if the victims fully cooperated. If you have information to help these perpetrators finally realize their lifelong dream of a modeling career in a nearby penitentiary, contact the Fremont Police Department by calling (510) 790-6900.  

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