Burglary doesn't scare man

Larry Farr said there's not much he would do differently to avoid becoming a burglary victim, despite recently losing out to thieves.

"I'm not going to react in a panic mode," said Mr. Farr, who retired from the Army after more than 20 years.

"We didn't get any of our stuff back, but at least they got caught, so it won't happen to anyone else," he said.

Mr. Farr's home was one of at least 60 residences targeted by a theft ring ultimately rounded up by Richmond County sheriff's investigators Feb. 25.

Six people were arrested and are facing burglary charges in connection with the thefts of thousands of dollars of property from Richmond and Columbia county houses.

Though some experts suggest that security systems can serve as a deterrent, Mr. Farr thinks otherwise.

In his case, the thieves cut wires connected to the security systems at the back of houses.

A big part of the problem, police say, are people who support thieves by purchasing stolen goods -- items they know are too good to be so cheap.

"If you buy a plasma TV for $100 and it's worth $1,000, you, the buyer, can be charged with felony theft by receiving stolen goods," Sgt. Horace Anderson said.

Mr. Farr said he felt angry after noticing how the burglars pillaged through his belongings.

"It was like they had a routine -- from the kitchen to the bedroom. Someone even drank a Coke from our refrigerator. They took all our jewelry. After I calmed down, I really saw how they tore up the house. I was really mad at first," Mr. Farr said.

He said he and his wife have no plans to relocate from the south Augusta house they've called home for more than 18 years.

At 60, Mr. Farr has a full-time job as a network administrator for a bank.

"I can't go seeking revenge," he said, adding that he credits the sheriff's office for "doing a good job."

Reach Timothy Cox at (706) 823-3217 or tim.cox@augustachronicle.com.

BURGLARY CASES ARE HARD TO SOLVE

Sheriff's Lt. Jimmy Young said Richmond County burglary rates have remained steady for the past two years.

In 2006, there were 2,855 reported burglaries in Richmond County, compared with 2,872 reported in 2007, he said. Of those, only 553 cases were cleared or solved in 2006 and just 428 cases were cleared in 2007, Lt. Young said.

He said it's not alarming that burglary numbers fluctuate year-to-year.

Sgt. Horace Anderson, the head of the sheriff's Burglary Division, said solvability rates are low because rising caseloads overburden his four-man staff.

"Typically, by the time we arrive, the crime is over and there are no witnesses," he said.

HOME SAFETY TIPS

- If affordable, install an alarm system, preferably one that operates both electronically and via satellite, in case the wiring is cut. Conceal the wiring inside a protective steel case.

- Record the serial number, make and models for guns, jewelry and other high-price items.

- Participate in your neighborhood watch program.

- Keep the hedges trimmed near windows, doorways and other home-entry points.

- Take photographs of your valuables.

- Leave the dead-bolt locks on while you are away from home.

Source: Richmond County Sheriff's Office