No end to break-ins

Burglars have been using the cover of the foothills in Tanjung Bungah, Penang, to routinely break into several homes in this prime residential area over the past four years.

To nab the culprits is difficult because the backs of the houses are facing the hills.

The only barricade between the foothills and the backs of the upper-middle class semi-detached homes in Lorong Lembah Permai 6 and 9 is a chain link fence.

But it is easily overcome with wire cutters.

The latest break-in happened two weeks ago, when businessman Lee See Keat, 50, had taken his family out for dinner.

“We left at about 7pm. When we came back around 9pm, we heard a noise at the back of our house.

“The burglars were just leaving and we realised that they had stolen from us again,” said Lee on Saturday.

He noted that this was the second time his house had been broken into and this time, they ran off with a box containing about RM60,000 worth of gold and platinum jewellery.

He suspected the perpetrators had a clear view of his house from the hillslope and could see when they went out for dinner.

Security cameras in Lee’s house revealed the burglars’ entry point but he could not identify them as they were fully masked.

Six homes in his neighbourhood were apparently broken into eight times since 2010.

“My neighbour reared three dogs but they were all poisoned last year. Not long after the dogs died, his house was broken into,” added Lee.

Satellite images from Google Earth showed that the jungle fringe directly behind Lee’s house was less than 1km from other residential areas.

“Police were unable to catch the burglars because they somehow melted into the woods. They never take large items because they cannot hike in the woods with them,” Lee said.

Lee estimated that the burglars had carted away more than RM200,000 in cash and valuables from his neighbours.

When contacted, George Town OCPD Asst Comm Gan Kong Meng said policemen were making rounds in the neighbourhood with members of the Voluntary Patrol Scheme.

He said the eight-hour patrol would begin at midnight daily, adding that a police container in Lembah Permai was now being used as the base.

“The officer-in-charge of the Tanjung Bungah police station is hands on while I am also monitoring personally.

“Crime prevention is a responsibility of both the police and the residents and neighbourhood watch should also be put into practice,” said ACP Gan. - By ARNOLD LOH (The Star)

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