OZAUKEE COUNTY -- You may want to think twice about not locking your doors. Ozaukee County Sheriff's officials are alerting residents about a series of recent daytime home burglaries.
"Everyone knows everyone around here," said Cody Graff, who lives in Port Washington.
The Graff family says this is usually a "no need to lock your doors community."
"All the farmers working out in the field," said Graff.
But now that law enforcement officials are investigating a string of home burglaries, that's changing.
"I keep all my stuff unlocked -- but now it's definitely going to be locked up," said Graff.
Between May and October, the Ozaukee County Sheriff's Office says there were four burglaries. The homes targeted were in rural areas of Port Washington, Grafton and Saukville -- not far off the freeway:
- County Highway C, Town of Grafton
- Lake Shore Rd., Town of Grafton
- Cold Springs Rd., Town of Saukville
- County Highway KW, Town of Port Washington
"The homes were ransacked. A lot of mess and damage done inside," said Lieutenant Rod Galbraith with the Ozaukee County Sheriff's Office.
By choosing rural, isolated homes not visible from the road, the burglars have been able to steal thousands of dollars worth of items without being spotted including: TVs, laptops, jewelry, clothing, and cash/credit cards.
Investigators say they start by ringing the doorbell.
"Typically, if they don't get a response at the door, that's when they find an area maybe in the back of the house, or a garage service door to make entry," said Lieutenant Galbraith.
But if someone does answer the door...
"They make up a name and ask for someone who doesn't live there. Sometimes, if asked, they don't even know where they're at," said Lieutenant Galbraith.
Sheriff's officials are asking neighbors to call them right away if someone unusual shows up on their doorstep -- or if they see a suspicious car.
The Graffs say it's not hard to spot strangers around the area.
"I can't see it being anyone from around this area," said Graff.
Officials say unidentified vehicles have been seen by neighbors parked in the victims’ driveways during the times of the burglaries, including a tan pickup truck, a white sedan and a white pickup truck. It is believed the suspects are using different vehicles.
If you see suspicious vehicles/persons in your area or experience persons coming to your door for suspicious reasons, or if you can get a license plate number, a vehicle description, or a physical description -- you are encouraged to contact the Ozaukee County Sheriff's Office at (262) 284-7172.