A brazen crook is breaking into homes in the middle of the night in Scripps Ranch – while residents are sleeping.
"It’s such a violation of your space and sanctuary,” Scripps Ranch resident Sunday Gover said. “It's shocking."
Police think, since the first week of October, the suspect may be responsible for at least nine hot prowl burglaries in an 8-square block area between Avenida Magnifica and Caminiat Doha.
"In the middle of the night, I think it's pretty horrifying," Scripps Ranch resident Peggy Webb said.
In each of the cases, the suspect has entered through an unlocked garage door or side door, police said.
“It's scary to think that somebody would be going in and breaking in, not even breaking in, walking in, while people are sleeping. It's pretty scary,” Webb said.
The break-ins have occurred between midnight and 5 a.m., while residents are fast asleep. The thief is taking wallets, watches, cell phones, laptop computers and small electronic items, police said.
“It's happening during the same time frame and happening much the same way. More of a crime of opportunity,” Lt. Dan Plein said.
Police though, may have caught a break.
On Wednesday, a man seen in surveillance video used a credit card, taken from one of the homes, at a 7-11 store in Mira Mesa.
So far, none of the victims has confronted or even seen the suspect.
Police have a very simple piece of advice to help avoid becoming a victim -- lock your windows and doors.