Wake County residents learn tough lessons about burglary

WAKE COUNTY, NC (WTVD) -- Consistent burglaries throughout Wake County highlight reasons why people should lock their cars while at home.

Apex police reported that a woman left her car unlocked in her driveway earlier this week.

A thief not only went through the car, but also found the remote for the family's garage door.

The thief realized that the door leading from the garage into the home was also unlocked and he went inside.

Garage remotes are commonly placed in cars for easy access.

"That's very scary that somebody can enter your home when you're asleep and you not even know it, just by going into your vehicle. And the simplest way to prevent that is to lock your car," said Captain Ann Stephens with the Apex Police Department.

No one inside the house woke up during the burglary, and the thief didn't try to hurt anyone or steal anything, but he did heat a frozen microwave meal and eat it.

Another Apex resident and mother of two Melanie Smalley said that incident is so bizarre that it's also unnerving.

"I would feel completely violated," she said. "That is really scary especially when you have kids."

Smalley said she made locking her car habitual, until one time recently when she had forgotten.

"As a mom I'm just spastic sometimes and the one day I forgot to lock my car it was shuffled through in the middle of the night," she said.

When she realized what had happened it dawned on her that her garaged door opener was also in the car.

"After that incident we learned our lesson because we do not want anyone coming into our house. So we have taken the garage door opener out of the car," she told ABC11.

The burglar who went inside the house this week is still on the loose, and Apex police have notified citizens of the consequences of leaving their cars unlocked.

Captain Ann Stephens with the Apex police department said that burglaries are one of the few crimes citizens have control over with the simple push of button.

"It is 100 percent preventable and we have done I can't tell you how many campaigns with signs, with social media, with news reports to try to get people to do one simple thing which is lock their car doors," she said.

Captain Ann Stephens with the Apex Police Department spoke to ABC11 about burglaries.

Apex businesswoman Kelly Shatat also learned the hard way about not locking her car; it was stolen.

"In North Carolina everybody's nice. No one's going to hurt you, you know," said Shatat.

Police said the idea that everyone in North Carolina is safe from crime may also be a reason why so many people leave the door from the garage into their home unlocked.

Here are some tips for staying safe:

  • ALWAYS lock your car (all it takes is a push of the button).

  • Hide your garage remote or take it inside with you.

  • NEVER leave the door from home to your garage unlocked.
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