By Dave Schwab
If your residence is being tented for pest fumigation, be advised: Don't leave it unattended. There are thieves around willing - and able - to take advantage.
A home on Prestwick Drive in La Jolla Shores was burglarized recently while the owner was away while it was being tented and fumigated.
"There are people who are making their living going around scavenging, breaking into homes being fumigated and stealing," said the burglary victim, who requested anonymity. The victim added that they returned to find their home had been ransacked by thieves who left things "helter-skelter and in disarray," even going so far as to steal garden implements.
"It's pretty shocking," the burglary victim said. "People should be warned there's a possibility of this happening.
"I was foolish," the robbery victim added. "I just left and assumed everything would be OK. You do need to have a safe deposit box or a safe, or take your valuables with you. People should be advised: Don't become victims."
Doug Williamson of Allstate Insurance in La Jolla, at 8813 Villa La Jolla Drive, said the fumigation burglary victim lives in his neighborhood. He added that this isn't the first instance he's seen of this opportunistic crime.
"What I gather is these guys go in with gas masks and gloves and go underneath these (tents), and once they're in, they can turn the lights on and nobody can see anything from the street," he said. "All they (thieves) have to do is drive around in a nice neighborhood and see one of those (tents)."
Williamson had practical advice to offer in preventing this crime from happening. "When you're having your house fumigated, you should notify all the people around you that if they see anybody going near that house that they should call the police," he said.
Williamson said he has been a victim of residential burglary in the past, adding that it's not just the monetary value of what's been taken but "the memories" associated with them that are irreplaceable.