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WKEF-TV ABC 22 News :: News - Top Stories - SPECIAL REPORT: Secrets of a Thief Part Two
Thursday, February 21 2013, 07:52 AM EST
SPECIAL REPORT: Secrets of a Thief Part Two
MONTGOMERY COUNTY -- They prowl the streets at all times of the day and night. Many times they walk right up to your front door just to see if you're home. We’re talking about burglars who are looking to take your valuables and threaten your safety. ABC 22/FOX 45 is Fighting Back for you by revealing what the burglars are looking for when they strike.

Bob Portenier knows a lot about breaking into homes. He used to live the life of a professional burglar, busting into homes across the Midwest.

"The first thing I look for is security signs. The next thing I look for is an entry door that's open so I only have to deal with the storm door," he said.

Bob's career came to a crashing halt when he got busted for armed robbery. Out of lock up and walking the straight and narrow, now Bob is working with us to expose criminal secrets, so your family can stay safe.

"If I see a car in the driveway or a car out in front of the house, there may or may not be anyone home, but why take the chance? Most professionals do not want a confrontation," Portenier said.

We followed Bob as he scoped out a neighborhood. It didn’t take him long to find an easy target.

He says to make your home less appealing to burglars, make sure every door to the outside has a deadbolt. It creates an extra barrier of protection, which is something burglars try to avoid because it slows them down. That's why they spend a lot of time driving up and down streets looking for an easy strike.

"They just knock on your door. If you actually answer the door, they'll ask you some off-the-wall question like 'hey I'm lost,' or 'does so and so live here.' If you answer the door, they're going to ask you a silly question and leave, that's clue number one. If you don't answer the door, then they kick your back door in," said Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer.

Driving through an average neighborhood in Montgomery County, we found plenty of homes that would pique a burglar's interest, like a house with garage doors wide open, and others completely dark inside, making it look like no one is home.

"It's a good idea to leave your light on in your living room or a TV. That's really a very inexpensive way to create the illusion that someone is home," Portenier said.

Bob says professional theives always case a neighborhood before breaking in. That's their safety net. But it also gives you the perfect chance to Fight Back!

"Talk to your neighbors. Look out for each other. If you see a car that's been cruising. Usually these burglars are creatures of habit. They'll get comfortable in a neighborhood and they'll hit it for a while," Plummer said.

"If you see something, you should call it in, just to make sure this person isn't casing the neighborhood," agreed Portenier.

The police are always willing to check out your concerns if it can prevent a possible crime.

Thursday morning on ABC 22 Good Morning/FOX 45 In The Morning, former burglar Bob Portenier shows us exactly what you need to protect your home, your belongings and your family, from being a burglar's next target.

Then, Thursday night on FOX 45 at 10 and ABC 22 at 11, we follow our former burglar as he breaks into a home. You'll be shocked at just how fast he's able to make off with thousands of dollars in valuables.
SPECIAL REPORT: Secrets of a Thief Part Two

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