KATY, Texas - Deputies are trying to find the person who has shot out windows of homes in the Cinco Ranch area.
Fort Bend County sheriff's deputies said the shooter, who is using a pellet gun, targeted at least four homes on Wednesday night.
The first incidents happened about 7:15 p.m. A back window was shot out at a home in the 5200 block of Winding Shore Lane and a bathroom window was shot out in the 5200 block of Clear Water Drive, investigators said.
"It's frustrating," homeowner Neal Woods said. "The first thing I thought of was glad no one else was home ... no one was in the bathroom."
About 30 minutes later, a two women and twin children were in their living room in the 3200 block of Banksfield Court when their living room window was shot out, detectives said.
"All of a sudden we heard this loud noise, a pop," said Linda Deffet. "My daughter said, 'What was that?' I said 'gun.' One of the twins said 'tornado,' another said 'fire cracker.'"
It turned out to be a shot from a pellet gun.
"We found it embedded in the door," Deffet said.
Another woman said she heard a loud noise at her home in the 3000 block of Winding Shore Lane at about 9:15 p.m. She noticed the back window of her home had been shot out. She said she heard a loud vehicle leaving the area.
No one was hurt in any of the incidents.
"I understand mischief, but I don't think (the shooter) realizes there's a lot more risk than breaking a window," Woods said.
Rikki Latorre said she can't walk through her house with the same peace of mind she used to have after being the victim of burglars.
Latorre said while she was out of town, her husband pulled up to their Quiet Lake Drive home after work to find the mess left by burglars. She said thieves smashed out a back door and took their television, computer, her husband's wedding band and thousands of dollars worth of her jewelry.
"It was just horrifying when you come home and there's just broken glass everywhere," said Latorre, "to know that someone was in your house and touching your things and you'll never get those possessions back."
Deputies say thieves are usually breaking windows or doors at the back of homes on Queensfield Court, Hazel Ranch Drive, Saddlebrook Lane, Summer Walk Lane, Everhart Manor, Rising Meadow Lane and more. The burglars steal cash, electronics, jewelry and guns.
Investigators said they haven't tied these crimes to any suspects, but they caution residents to be on the guard. Investigators also offer the following safety tips:?
- Lighting: Make sure you have solid lighting in the front and back of the home as well as in garages and carports. Motion lighting is a good idea and it's like an alarm because it will startle a culprit and the light also will alert the residents.
- Fences: One of the favorite methods of gaining entry these days is to get into the back yard and smash a window. Keep those fences locked at all times, even when you're home. Only unlock them when you're doing yard work. Your goal is to place as many hindrances as possible in the way of a burglar.
- Shrubbery: Keep the shrubs and trees around the house trimmed low so they won't conceal a culprit.
- Doors: Select good, solid doors and use a deadbolt locking system.
- Prevention: Keep all doors, garages and storage buildings locked at all times. Have visible address numbers easy for emergency personnel/police to see.
- Alarms: Select an alarm system and make sure it has a reliable power supply. That requires electric power with a battery for emergency backup. Alarm signage also helps with prevention.
- Neighborhood Watch programs: All of these ideas are basic measures. However, one of the best crime prevention moves is to establish a Neighborhood Watch Program on your street or neighborhood. Learn the vehicles that travel along your streets. If you see a suspicious vehicle, call our Dispatch and we will send a deputy. Your neighbors can be the "eyes and ears" for the Sheriff's Office deputies. Get to know your neighbors. Make sure you contact them if you're going out of town. If you spot someone who you think is burglarizing a house, don't be shy. Call 911 so that law enforcement personnel can get their as quickly as possible.
Anyone with information is asked to call Fort Bend Crime Stoppers at 281-342-TIPS.
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