With the warm season approaching, Eliza Hawkins has a warning for residents about a very quick and efficient burglar who she believes frequents the Cowichan Valley on a fairly regular basis.
Hawkins, who lives in Chemainus, said she suspects the man she calls “Tommy” and his female partner are gearing up for their next burglaries.
She said typical of Tommy’s modus operandi is to walk calmly into your back garden while you are weeding and working.
“He knows you have your head down and you are not watching the gate or the back door,” Hawkins said.
“He knows you have also not locked your back door. He also knows your purse, or wallet if you are a man, is sitting in full view on a table inside the house. He picks up the wallet or the purse and leaves by the front door. His female partner is one or two houses down the street parked with the motor running.”
Hawkins said this is what happened to her last Thanksgiving Day while she was in her garden and Tommy stole thousands of dollars of jewelry from her home.
She said she had missed some jewelry about a week before and assumed she had misplaced it, but quickly began to suspect that Tommy had already been there before and had come back for a second helping.
Hawkins said she has been told of at least four incidents when Tommy had done this before in Chemainus over the last several years.
Hawkins said Tommy often wears a hoodie and changes his appearance by wearing different costumes.
He may also change his looks by having his hair long or cutting it short.
“He does not break and enter,” Hawkins said.
“He simply waits for you to go into your back garden and he walks straight into your house. All the evidence against him, if he were caught, would be circumstantial. He acts as though he knows a lot about the law. He chooses elderly persons as his victims, people that live alone. Persons who may be a smidgen forgetful or not quite as cautious as they once were.”
Hawkins advised people to always lock their doors, even if you are simply taking out the garbage.
“Tommy is only in your house as long as it takes to walk from the back door to the front one,” she said.
“He grabs items on the way. Hide your valuables. Slowing him down will frustrate him and could even prevent his robbery.”
The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment acknowledged that the police have created a file about the burglary at Hawkins’ residence last year, but no suspects were identified.