TRUCKEE, Calif. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- Thieves are targeting specific types of homes throughout the North Lake Tahoe area at a higher rate than usual. Often, these crimes go unnoticed for weeks.
A significant amount of houses throughout Truckee are vacation hubs for secondary home owners, a demographic being heavily targeted this winter.
From November to the present, over twenty Truckee homes have been broken into and ransacked, with three just this past weekend. "It started off primarily as, unfortunately, kicking doors in, a lot of damage that way," said Truckee Police Sergeant Robert Womack.
Most of the burglaries are happening in the Northwest Tahoe Donner community. The twenty homes impacted are more than triple the number of break-ins Truckee sees in an average four-month period. "That's a large percentage of the homes up here," Womack said.
Womack said all houses hit are secondary homes going unoccupied for weeks before and after the crimes. "We have not seen where they have missed and found homes that do not have high end electronics, high end stereos, TVs, that kind of thing in them." Womack also said thieves are now finding openings in windows and doors and are even bypassing security systems.
Truckee Police is having trouble constructing timelines, because these crimes are often reported weeks after initial break-ins. Similar burglaries are being reported throughout Placer County, Incline Village and North Lake Tahoe, as well.
Womack said he doesn't know why it is happening now. "We think this is all being committed by the same person or persons, same group, and until their caught they realize that they are able to do this."
The Truckee Police Department's top priority is to catch these criminals, but because finding them is so difficult, officials are focusing on preventing future break-ins, too.
Womack's advice is to get to know your neighbors and local homeowners associations, and keep eyes on your home at all times.