Authorities say that homes in two south Forsyth County neighborhoods were burglarized on Saturday night, sparking a large unsuccessful manhunt in the county’s south end.
In the space of an hour, three hooded and masked men entered homes in Winchester on the River and Laurel Springs subdivisions in south Forsyth, breaking through sliding glass doors and disabling security measures before fleeing from authorities.
According to Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Cpl. Doug Rainwater, at about 7:30 p.m., Saturday, a security guard in the Laurel Springs subdivision was notified by a homeowner that three individuals had tripped the outdoor cameras at his residence on Laurel Springs Drive.
As he arrived at the residence, the guard could reportedly see individuals inside the home, which was supposed to be empty, and saw suspects flee out the back of the residence into nearby woods.
A large force of deputies arrived at the subdivision within minutes and immediately started a K9 unit to track the suspects, but the scent was eventually lost, possibly because the suspects were able to escape in a waiting vehicle, Rainwater said.
At 8:30 p.m., about three miles away from the Laurel Springs residence, Rainwater said that three burglars, who are believed to be the same suspects, broke into a residence on Overlook Mountain Drive.
The homeowner at Overlook Mountain Drive was alerted of the burglary by a camera inside his residence and watched as the thieves went through his home until the residence’s power was cut, killing the camera feed.
Rainwater said that the burglars took “great lengths” to make sure that homeowners were away before entering the residences.
Due to dark conditions, video quality from the two residences’ cameras and the concealing clothing worn by burglars during the incidents, authorities were not able to identify any suspects, Rainwater said.
Authorities are still unsure what was taken during the incidents or why these homes were targeted, but Rainwater said that both burglaries are similar to a string of break-ins that targeted families of Indian and Asian descent in 2017 and 2018.
During those burglaries, authorities said that criminals may have been identifying their victims through social media and may have used tracking devices to learn their victim’s patterns.While there’s no direct evidence linking the crimes together, Rainwater said that people can take precautions during the holiday season when posting about family vacations and expensive gifts on social media.