Thieves target homes undergoing renovations near Ward Parkway

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Thieves are targeting homes undergoing renovations along Ward Parkway, taking everything from copper wiring to kitchen appliances.

Contractors have become a common sight at homes in the upscale neighborhood, but police say renovations can also serve as a spotlight to thieves.

“I think the first thing you feel when you hear about it is a little bit of fear,” said neighbor Jessie Underwood.

“But then it kind of turns to anger and frustration about people that are targeting hard-working people that are just trying to do what's best for their family.”

People who live in the neighborhood told FOX 4 they have noticed a recent spike in break-ins at houses for sale or just sold, and at homes getting remodeled.

Underwood’s new neighbors, who are making updates to their house before moving in, are the latest target.

“I think whoever it is, is smart enough to know that that is a vulnerable state for people where houses are empty or opened up more with contractors going in and out,” Underwood said.

Victims told FOX 4 the intruders take everything from copper wiring to kitchen appliances, TVs and furniture.

“It puts us all on edge a little bit,” Underwood said.

Police say things like mobile storage units, dumpsters and contracting equipment are all tips to criminals that no one's home.

They suggest installing alarm systems or surveillance cameras, and leaving some lights on serve as good deterrents to potential burglars.

But the best defense might be the watchful eye of a neighbor.

“I think as a neighborhood,” Underwood said, “if we can bring exposure to it and everybody knows that this is going on, we can keep a lookout and ensure that [burglars] know not to come back to this neighborhood.”

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