The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office has offered a few tips for keeping homes safe from burglary:
• Remove all valuables from vehicles, as well as garage door openers, and lock the doors.
• Install a motion detector on outside lights.
• Lock all doors to your home, including those that lead from the garage into the house.
• If you have an alarm system, make sure it works and use it.
• If you hear or see anything suspicious, call 911.
A suspected cat burglar and gang member was arrested this week after he reportedly entered homes and vehicles in two south Forsyth neighborhoods, authorities said.
Julian Estevan Mora-Ruiz, 22, of Gwinnett County has been charged with two counts each of burglary and entering auto. Bond has not been set, said Forsyth County Sheriff’s Major Dan Jagoe.
Mora-Ruiz, who was apprehended Tuesday afternoon in Forsyth, became a suspect within 12 hours of the crimes early Monday in the Aberdeen and Glencree subdivisions, Jagoe said.
It appears the suspect took advantage of unlocked doors at both homes, which troubled investigators. In one incident, the garage door opener in an unlocked vehicle was used to gain entry into a house.
Sheriff Ted Paxton noted the suspect willingly entered the occupied homes, thus creating an opportunity for a possible confrontation.
“[Mora-Ruiz] is a confirmed member of the Sur 13 gang, which we are well aware of in law enforcement as a criminal enterprise gang,” Paxton said.
He explained that the burglaries are not considered home invasions, which are characterized by forceful entry to a home. Also, those often have a violent nature, such as an armed robbery of people targeted for a particular reason.
Monday morning’s incidents appear random, he said.
Still, authorities planned to meet Wednesday night with residents of Aberdeen and Glencree to talk about the situation and prevention methods.
The investigation began Monday after reports that a home in Aberdeen and one in Glencree had been burglarized. Jagoe noted the neighborhoods are across Old Atlanta Road from each other.
Jagoe said that at about 4 a.m. Monday a resident on Wicklow Court in Glencree woke up her husband after noticing a light in the hallway was on.
The husband found the back door was open, as were the doors to two other bedrooms. He then discovered a man, later identified as Mora-Ruiz, hiding by an open window.
The suspect ran off and the couple called 911.
Jagoe said authorities also received a report that morning that a home in Aberdeen had been burglarized.
A woman who lives there heard a noise, but thought it was her teenage son getting something to eat.
“Turns out it was a cat burglar,” Jagoe said.
Paxton explained the couple in Glencree may have left the door to their patio unlocked after a Super Bowl party.
In Aberdeen, the suspect apparently entered an unlocked vehicle parked at the house and used the door opener to get into the garage.
The door leading into the house from the garage had been left unlocked, Paxton said.
The suspect tried unsuccessfully to remove a flat screen TV from the home and did take a laptop computer, authorities said.
He also entered another unlocked vehicle in Aberdeen, but it doesn’t appear the suspect entered the home where it was parked.