Burglary Series Tied to Garage Door Release Latch

Thieves may be using a coat hanger to pull the wire and release the garage doors


San Diego police are investigating four home burglaries in a month in which the thieves broke in through the garage door opener’s release latch.

Rancho Bernardo resident Ray Castanon demonstrates a special feature on the garage door of his home.

“If there's a power failure, we're still able to get to our vehicles by simply pulling out with a key and unlocking the door,” Castanon said. .

The wire, accessible through a small lock on the outside of the door, is attached to the release latch of his garage door opener.

While it’s convenient for residents it may also be for thieves.

On Thursday, someone stole $2,000 worth of power tools from Castanon's garage.

“You're in a nice beautiful area, you wouldn't think there would be a problem on this side,” he said.

But there's been a big problem since early April. There have been at least four garage burglaries on the 16000-block of Avenida Venusto.

The garages are detached from the homes here so there's little chance of residents hearing the break-ins.

One resident has put a neighborhood burglary alert sign in his car to warn others.

It’s certainly put victims like Castanon on edge.

“I set my alarm every two hours just to come out and make sure my garage is still in one piece, as well as others,” he said.

Detectives aren't sure exactly how the thieves are getting in. It’s possible they're using a coat hanger to pull that wire.

There are YouTube videos that show how a thief can get that release latch to open the door within seconds.

But the good news is that there is also online information on how to prevent it from happening. A homeowner can use plastic ties to secure the latch or wire mesh to cover it.

In the meantime, Castanon says he'll use a good old padlock to secure his garage and deal with the inconvenience of getting in and out of his car.

The homeowners’ association is warning residents about the garage burglaries through its newsletter. Many residents think the thieves are watching the habits of residents. So they’re informing people that if they see something, say something.

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