San Geronimo Valley hit with string of seven burglaries

07/31/2019

Seven home burglaries struck the San Geronimo Valley last week, echoing a similar string of break-ins this spring and stumping law enforcement. “Since those reports, we have tried to have more of a presence in that area, at night and during the day when people are working,” said Brenton Schneider, a Marin County sheriff’s sergeant. “The biggest thing for residents right now is to keep in constant communication with your neighbors. Keep an eye on each other’s houses.” There are no suspects in the series of crimes, which Sgt. Schneider said were likely committed by the same person or group of people, given their proximity. Five burglaries and one attempted break-in in March and April, which prompted a community meeting, were likely linked to the most recent events. “It’s possible it’s the same people, but you never know,” Sgt. Schneider said. On Sunday, July 21, deputies responded to a call in Woodacre from a resident who discovered multiple missing computers. The next day, three reports of robberies came in from the same street in San Geronimo and a fourth came in from Lagunitas. Tuesday, July 23 saw another burglary report from Lagunitas, which could have happened the day before. A seventh report came in a week later, on Sunday, July 28, when a resident found a missing coin jar and ransacked drawers. In one case, the thieves opened an unlocked door, but in other cases they broke glass or smashed in doors; they took mostly jewelry, credit cards, computers and cameras. Sgt. Schneider said one homeowner had footage from a surveillance camera that was part of the department’s ongoing investigation. Besides “saturating the area” with more personnel, the sergeant said his department is communicating with residents in real time primarily through NextDoor. During the community forum in April held at the Lagunitas School which drew nearly 50 people, Supervisor Dennis Rodoni and Deputy Alex Brown from the Marin County Sheriff’s Office focused on what people can do to protect their homes. Residents expressed concern that assisting one another is difficult: the valley is heavily wooded and homes are often set apart from one another. Denise Bohman, a member of the Lagunitas School board, expressed particular concern that the break-ins appeared to be happening during the hours that schoolchildren were returning home. A Lagunitas couple whose home was burglarized said they have since installed four cameras and contracted with Redwood Security. A handful of other home-safety suggestions were brought up during the meeting: having an alarm system not connected to electricity, as thieves have been known to cut electrical wires; leaving devices such as televisions or radios on while away from home; creating a neighborhood watch patrol; and installing physical barriers to entry such as window bars. Dep. Brown added that residents should be careful about their social media posts, especially ones that document vacations in real time.