Charlotte neighborhood sees spike in residential burglaries - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Charlotte neighborhood sees spike in residential burglaries; thousands of dollars in sports memorabilia stolen

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Thieves are targeting a west Charlotte neighborhood, and Charlotte Mecklenburg Police are sounding the alarm. Some of the items stolen are rare antique golf balls.

The Toddville-Freedom-Paw Creek corridor is not usually an area that sees a lot of crime. Between January and the end of March - there were only two home break-ins.

But since April, there's been a spike. Police say there have been eight residential burglaries in just two months.

"That's why we're so concerned" said Lieutenant Lisa Carriker, of the Freedom Division. "Because it has happened so quickly."

Police say the burglaries all happened in the middle of the day.

"We have neighborhoods where the houses are isolated. They're very old homes so there's a lot of these big beautiful trees, which are great - but it makes it hard to see and the paths back behind them are very wooded" Lt. Carriker said.

Detectives believe the culprits are using the woods to their advantage.

"These folks are coming up on the trails on the backside of the houses and then forcing their way in - either smashing a window or kicking in the doors - to get into the houses."

We're very unsettled" said Keith Campbell. "We don't feel safe here. I'm angry. I'm frustrated. I'm very sad number one that the sanctity and safety of our home - with our two little dogs - has been broken."

The Campbells' house was broken into on May 28th after the couple left home for work.

Keith Campbell said when he stopped back home, "went into my golf room and it looked like a bomb had exploded, rifled through my closet, stole my camera."

Campbell is a member of the Golf Collector's Society. For the past 35 years, he has been collecting golf memorabilia.

That morning, thieves stole nine antique golf balls worth $4,100, an acoustic guitar, a white gold ring, and rummaged through drawers of clothes.

Police say the culprits used a crow bar to pry open a bathroom window. And, apparently used the wooded area behind the house as a way in and out - unseen by neighbors.

Thieves weren't done with the Campbells.

On June 5 - the second time in 10 days - burglars returned.

"As I went around to the back of the house, same bathroom window open - wide open" said Keith Campbell.

This time they kept their focus in the golf room.

"They came back and stole the entire golf ball collection - the whole rack. The rest of my antique balls."

Campbell estimates the golf ball collection is worth $30,000.

"These balls cannot be sold on eBay or Craig's List because I'm going to know" Campbell said. "I'm the only one with those golf balls."

He's keeping an eye out for someone trying to sell the balls. In the meantime, he left a note on the same the bathroom window - in the event the thieves come a third time.

Police were able to track Keith Campbell's guitar to a pawn shop, and surveillance video captured a photo of the woman who pawned the guitar.

In the note to the thieves, Campbell wrote, "the police know who you are!!! Picture of your girl when she sold my guitar!! And they have your prints."

Campbell wasn't done.

He also wrote "you better hope they find you before I do."

Lt Carriker is reminding people "when you see something that just doesn't seem right, call us. If you see people walking behind the house, going back behind your neighbor's house - call us."

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