RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- It turns out that the theft of a safe filled with tens of thousands of dollars from a Raleigh home wasn't an isolated incident.
Another safe also filled with piles of cash was stolen a month earlier from a home in the same southeast Raleigh neighborhood.
That burglary happened on Dec. 18 in the Maybrook Crossings subdivision off South New Hope Road.
One of the victims, Mohamed Abdo, said he finds it hard to believe the two crimes aren't connected.
"I believe they're the same. They've been targeting that area," Abdo said.
Abdo, his wife and two young children moved out of the house and to a new home in Apex during the weekend.
On Thursday, he recounted his wife calling to say they had lost their life savings and her heirloom diamond and gold jewelry.
"There is that moment of, 'Oh, my God!'" he recalled.
Abdo said he was laid off from his job in Greenville in June of last year.
By December, with no job prospects, he moved his family to Raleigh.
"I cashed in my 401(k), made the move, and we took everything out of the security deposit boxes over there in Greenville."
Until he could find a new bank, he used a safe to stash all their important papers, the $25,000 in cash, the jewelry worth about $10,000, and his gun.
"They managed to carry that out," he said.
At another Maybrook Crossings home - a short walk away and a month later - thieves broke in and stole a similar safe also filled with tens of thousands of dollars and jewelry.
The victim, Frank Barnett, said his neighbor spotted young suspects near the back of the house.
Police are investigating the possible connection between the crimes and other break-ins in the area.
Earlier this month Mario Scott, 17, of Raleigh, was charged with being a convicted felon with a stolen firearm.
Raleigh police say it was Abdo's gun.
Scott has not been charged with the break-in at Abdo's house.
Online court records show Scott has been arrested nine times in Wake County in the past 14 months.
He was charged with a total of 18 crimes.
Eleven involve break-ins and stolen property.
No matter who is behind the stolen safes the victims are still affected.
"We were completely violated," Abdo said
But Abdo said he's trying to get perspective.
"Money is not really an important matter when it actually comes down to it. My kids are safe. My wife is safe," he said.
Obviously, he wishes he had moved his valuables to bank before the theft but he still didn't flinch when he heard that a 2015 survey conducted for American Express by businesswire.com found that 43 percent of Americans keep their savings in cash.
"That statistic does not surprise me," Abdo said.
He said he has already faced ridicule but reached out to ABC11 even though he knew he might endure more scrutiny from the public. But he hopes it may help keep someone else from a similar fate.
"Just to try to highlight that this is not a one-time thing," This has happened several times especially the neighborhood that we used to live in."
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