Southlands Burglars use Bear Spray

At a little after 1:20am one morning last week, burglars gained entry into a Southlands home by climbing through a small window on the main floor. The residents were asleep on the 2nd floor, as were their two dogs. The residents were awakened by both the noise of the burglars as well as the barking of the dogs. However, when they attempted to investigate what was going on they found that they were unable to walk through the hallway because the burglars had used a can of bear spray and directed it towards the hallway and stairs. They were forced to return to their room and call 911.

The alarm system in the home was not operational and the crooks were able to steal a significant amount of stereo and other electronic equipment. Luckily, although a traumatizing event, noone was physically injured.

I wasn’t going to write about this burglary as I think it was an isolated incident and I have not seen any evidence to suggest that using pepper/bear spray is a new trend in Westside burglaries. However, we have received quite a few calls and questions about it as the story has made its rounds. Most concerns have been whether preemptive bear/pepper spraying is a new threat.

In my own experience, the actual use of pepper or bear spray is quite rare. One of the obvious reasons for this is that any kind of aerosol repellent used in an enclosed area will affect every person in the room… burglars included. Unless a crook arrives with a proper mask, using any kind of spray will make the burglary much more difficult to pull off. Plus, as I pointed out in a post about the typical residential burglary, most crooks will make some effort to choose a home that is unoccupied.

Although no one saw the crooks in this particular incident, it appears likely that the spray was used after the crooks heard the dogs, as
opposed to being used as a preemptive step.

This burglary was also atypical in that it occurred at 1:20am rather than during mid-day when most residential burglaries occur.

One lesson that this incident points out is that crooks are not necessarily deterred by dogs.

Unfortunately, I have attended several burglaries where the family dog, whether a Lab or Doberman, has been struck with a bat or other object. In other cases, the dog simply ignored the crook after being offered some dog treats.

In most cases, your family dog, irrespective of its size or bark, can be circumvented by a motivated burglar.

While it used to be true that a large dog and monitored alarm system could not co-exist without significant false alarms, that is no longer the case. New alarm technology allows for motion detectors to sense the difference between human and pet movement, and can ignore dogs up to 100lbs.

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