VENTURA COUNTY (KRON/CNN) — Police say some burglars are finding it easier than ever to check out which homes they want to target using the popular app called Zillow.
It’s happening in Southern California, but there’s concern that the trend could spread.
Sheriff’s deputies in Ventura County are blaming a rash of recent home burglaries on suspected Los Angeles gang members, but what’s really raising eyebrows is how they’re choosing which upscale homes to break into.
Investigators say they’re increasingly using websites like Zillow, which provide lots of information, not just what homes look like but the inside layout, and whether they back up against open land.
One burglary crew is suspected of hitting at least six homes in Thousand Oaks, Moorpark, and other areas of Ventura County in recent days.
Also, parts of Los Angeles and Orange counties were hit.
One woman says her neighbor was a victim.
“Every single drawer had been opened and thrown across the room,” she said. “And anything that could be taken off the wall was shattered on the ground.”
“These are dangerous people,” Sgt. Eric Buschow said. “Doing electronic searches on their devices. A lot of searches on Zillow and other real estate sites, looking at specific properties. People need to be aware of that. The technology can work for you, but it can work against you as well.“
The sheriff’s office released video made by some of the suspects pointing out that they’re well-armed.
In one incident, the owners were home at the time of the break-in and were assaulted.
Authorities say you might be surprised at just how much surveillance is done, and in many cases, the burglars show up only minutes after residents leave their house.
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