Independence police nab suspect within hours of meeting to address neighborhood crime

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BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — Independence Police nabbed a suspect early Saturday morning who was spotted stealing property from outside people’s homes. It happened in a neighborhood already fed up with criminals targeting their cars and property.

Gun shots fired at a homeowner yelling from his porch to stop thieves from breaking into a neighbor’s car sent shockwaves through the Brittany Ridge Estates neighborhood in February. Tyler Reed ended up with a bullet through his bedroom window.

After the incident near S. Powell Avenue and E. 52nd Street Court South, the community on the Independence/Blue Springs border, which for some reason seemed to be dealing with a rash of similar crimes, contacted police about starting a neighborhood watch. They had their first meeting with Independence Police on Thursday.

“I’m a big supporter of talking to your neighbors, getting to know your neighbors, knowing that you are going to be there for them if you see their garage door open late at night or see you some someone prowling around their address. People don’t do that any more,” Angela Burlingame said.

So the very next day when Burlingame’s dog started barking in the middle of the night, she figured she should check it out.

“I went ahead and got out of bed, and that’s when I saw him trying to steal items from my neighbor outside of her house,” she said.

She dialed 911 just as the thief took off from the cul-de-sac on S. Necessary Road. But then he returned to try to steal from a neighbor across the street. 

“We didn’t have our outside lights on. Our other neighbor didn’t have their lights on. I think he just kind of went for the easy target,” said Natalia Harrity, who had golf equipment stolen.

Police chased the suspect to the edge of the neighborhood where he jumped out of his vehicle and tried to run down a hill where a new home was under construction.

A neighbor’s NEST camera captured the arrest. You can see it in the video player above.

Harrity is thankful for neighbors who had her back within hours of the neighborhood watch’s first meeting. 

“I think the more awareness we have in the neighborhood, the less of a target we become,” she said.

Burlingame said she hopes others step up to the plate while they work out assigning neighborhood watch captains. 

“Someone who works hard like everybody else in my neighborhood. I take it very personally,” she said.

Once the neighborhood watch group is fully formed, police will place signs to further deter criminals. In the meantime, police say make sure your car doors are locked, don’t leave valuables in them or around your house and leave outdoor lights on. 

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