NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- A North Little Rock man of the North Baring Cross neighborhood says he witnessed a person with a city uniform loading a television into a vehicle his neighbor says stolen from her home.
"The guy had on a vest like a street worker. He was real casual. He wasn't in any hurry, so I didn't panic at all. ...Then I heard a house three doors down got broken into," says Ned Alston, the neighbor who witnessed the television being loaded. Alston says he later learned his neighbor's home had been burglarized.
"[The] house [was] ransacked; drawers pulled out and opened, computers, TV and video games stolen. They tried to get a hold of the air conditioning. It wouldn't fit through the window," says Cristina Ivey, the victim of the burglary. Ivey also says burglars entered through their back door.
"The day before they came in and got two saws of mine," says neighbor John Keller. Keller says he bought two homes in the area to rehabilitate with the hope of improving the area. He says his home was burglarized twice in two day. In all, Kellar says burglars stole more than $2000 worth of tools.
Ivey says vacant homes in the area attract those looking to commit crimes. North Little Rock Code Enforcement says many of the homes are foreclosures.
"They have no owners locally and the banks or mortgage holders are out of state. In that case, basically all we can do is secure that property and do outside maintenance on it, and file liens against the property," says director Tom Wadley of North Little Rock Code Enforcement.
Residents say the crime has spilled over to local businesses.
"I've been broken into numerous times and I think it's the amount of glass that I have, but you know the glass is expensive," says Rudy Colclasure, owner of Rudy's Café and Oyster Bar. Colclasure said last Wednesday burglars stole an empty cash register which would later be recovered by police.
Mike Santa Cruz, owner of Santa Cruz Tattoo Company says while his business has not been broken into his burglar alarm goes off frequently.
"The police station is two blocks and I usually beat the police here," says Santa Cruz.
North Little Rock Police say through a greater police presence, handing out flyers to educate the public, placing undercover officers throughout the area and placing bait cars to catch thieves they are working to curb crime.