A second Burnaby, B.C. family has come forward with chilling details of a break-and-enter theft that unfolded while some of the residents were home. Their experience is eerily similar to an incident a week earlier at a nearby home.
The homeowner is speaking up after thieves broke into his house in the Capitol Hill area while he and his wife were inside.
"It is a terrifying ordeal. I was not able to sleep for the entire two days after that," he said.
"I kept looking out the window in the middle of the night."
CTV News is concealing his identity, and the identities of another family with a similar experience, because they fear they could be re-victimized by thieves now in possession of stolen electronics with family photos and personal information.
The man told CTV he was in his basement with his wife Saturday night, when the thieves snuck in upstairs.
He heard a chime signalling that an exterior door had been opened, but couldn't go upstairs through the interior door to see what was going on. The thieves had locked the door.
Instead, he tried going via the outside entrance and noticed that the gate in his backyard was wide open, which was unusual. He called 911, but while police arrived quickly, the thieves had already left with cash, jewelry and electronics.
His home was built in a similar style to that of a family also targeted by burglars last week.
"All the houses are built in the early 90s. They all have the same kind of windows, which, literally there's no security whatsoever," the man said.
"It's just a piece of soft aluminum metal, or plastic, for that matter."
The first incident was partially captured by surveillance camera. http://bc.ctvnews.ca/homeowner-warns-others-after-thieves-enter-burnaby-home-1.3698611
In that case, a thief climbed in a front-facing ground floor window, forcing open plastic stoppers the windows come with to lock them in place while allowing them to open partially for airflow. He then opened the front door to let in his accomplice.
The family later discovered the rear garage lights had been unscrewed to make the area darker.
During that break-in last week, the owner's dog started behaving strangely and his daughter followed him upstairs. She came face-to-face with one of the masked men.
"My daughter was shocked (because) he confronted her and told her to go back downstairs," the homeowner said.
She did, but called 911 immediately to let police know there were thieves in the home. They made off with a safe full of family mementos and a hard drive and SD cards with photos and videos.
"All my kids' photos, family pictures when from they're young, stuff like that," the father said. "Those are irreplaceable."
In both instances, the main floors were dark with only the kitchen lights on. The master bedrooms were targeted at both homes.
But there was a notable and chilling difference in the more recent break-in: when the resident tried to investigate the source of noise upstairs, the thieves had already acted to keep him down.
"I grabbed my baseball bat, tried to go upstairs to check it out to see if anyone's up there, and then I noticed the door was locked," he said.
He believes the thieves are learning from each theft, becoming more sophisticated, so he's warning his neighbours and other members of the public to "be more vigilant and pay attention."
Police have provided few details on the cases, but asked anyone with more information to contact them at 604-646-9999. Tips can also be left anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Penny Daflos