An Edmonton family is sharing video of a brazen burglar who broke down their front door in the middle of the day while surveillance cameras were rolling.
The incident happened at 2 p.m. on a Friday afternoon last month. Jurgen Mekk was at work and his wife had taken their two kids out to buy school supplies. Nobody was at home.
A thief seized the opportunity, riding his bike up to the Mekks’ front door. In the video, he can been seen knocking on the door and looking around before heading to the backyard.
There he is seen trying the deadlocked back door and ringing the bell before putting his bike in a convenient getaway position.
From there, he can be seen going back to the front door and looking at the Mekks’ camera before proceeding to bodycheck the door three times, busting the door frame right off and gaining access to the home in the middle of the day.
“It was clearly marked that the area was under surveillance. It was disbelief,” Jurgen told Global News on Monday.
“Did the guy really just not care?”
The thief took two laptops, the teenage son’s wallet and the 10-year-old daughter’s tablet.
“She actually bought it with her own money after her birthday, so she was absolutely devastated,” Jurgen explained.
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Those things, the family points out, are extras — wants, not needs. But another item the thief took was of great sentimental value to Jurgen’s wife, Stacey Mekk. The thief made off with her entire jewelry box.
“We’ve been together 26 years and there was a necklace he bought me when we were dating,” Stacey said through tears. “It had an ‘I love you’ pendant.
The break-in left the family feeling sick and uneasy in their own home.
“Like, wow — ours. Us. It was a bit surreal,” Stacey said.
The family thought they had taken all the right precautions when it came to fortifying their home.
“We did everything,” Stacey said. “We put the cameras in once we knew that neighbours were being broken into. Maybe it would deter him. But he came right in the front door. Daylight. It’s crazy.”
“Even if we had a full-on alarm system, because the guy was in here for less than two minutes, it really wouldn’t have mattered,” Jurgen added.
Const. Amanda Trenchard with the Edmonton Police Service said it’s not uncommon for thieves to break in in the middle of the day because it’s when most people are at work.
She recommends people beef up the security around their doors.
“We recommend a three-and-a-half- to four-inch screw so that it goes into the physical structure around the door — not just on the strike-plate, but on the hinge side too,” Trenchard said.
“It’s not impossible. Nothing’s impossible if somebody really wants in. But it makes it a lot tougher.”
Jurgen said the family had those screws in place — in both doors — but it didn’t seem to help.
“I’m actually surprised how easy it was to go through the door,” Jurgen said.
Police also recommend getting to know your neighbours and being vigilant with strangers.
“Know who belongs and question those who don’t belong. Ask them if they’re looking for someone. Are they new to the neighbourhood?” Trenchard said.
Stacey has since spoken to her community league about heading up a Neighbourhood Watch program and also plastered up posters of the thief on streetlamp posts to warn others.
Over the weekend, the Mekk family came up with another way to deter criminals. They rescued a big black lab cross named Boss.
“We feel safer, just with him being here,” Stacey said.
Trenchard said that’s not a bad idea either.
“A lot of times, a dog will make the difference. Because then he’s barking. So it’ll alert anyone in the neighbourhood.”