Tribune-Courier General Manager
As residents of several Benton neighborhoods slept Sunday night thieves were at work making their rounds, breaking into cars and garages and getting away with anything of value.
At least one homeowner, however, is reporting that her home was entered and burglarized while the family slept inside.
Hope Vaughn lives at the corner of Wood Trace and Bent Creek and said her home was entered at around 5 a.m. Monday.
“I heard something and thought it was my husband getting ready to go into work.”
Vaughn was unaware her husband was asleep in another area of the home. Shortly after, he also heard something. The two found numerous items missing including firearms and cash from a wallet after a door slammed.
“These people have no fear to come into your home while you are asleep,” said Vaughn. “We have A.D.T. [an alarm company] coming in the morning to put in a security system.”
Benton police chief Tracy Watwood said break-ins occurred across the city, with residents of Merrywood, Wood Trace, Bent Creek, West Oaks and 14th Street reporting thefts during the early morning hours Monday.Watwood said thieves appeared to be looking for anything of value.
The Merrywood Subdivision was the hardest hit with about a half dozen homeowners reporting thefts of guns, money, electronics and other items from vehicles and garages Monday morning.
Benton police had responded to around 15 calls by day’s end Monday, most of them coming early in the morning as residents of the neighborhoods began to venture out to start the week.
At press time, calls were continuing to come into police as residents discovered vehicles had been ransacked, with possessions laying outside on the ground and valuables missing.
Police believe there was more than one thief at work, given the widespread nature of the reports in a short amount of time.
Police thought they had a lead around midday Monday when someone tried to cash a stolen check at a bank in Paducah. Bank video of the person proved to be too grainy for police to make an identification, however, other video obtained from homeowners and businesses will be reviewed by police for clues.
Watwood is encouraging residents to make certain homes, vehicles and garages are locked.
“This appears to be a crime of opportunity,” he said. “If vehicles were unlocked they had easy access. If not, they were breaking in.”
The Marshall County Sheriff’s Department was assisting the Benton City Police to respond to all the calls.