Ed Murray, News 9
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Habitat for Humanity development in northeast Oklahoma City has been a safe neighborhood for years, but now residents said there have been 15 home break-ins in the last 30 days.
Tuesday morning, a burglar walked up to a home in Hope Crossing at about 10 a.m. and went right through the window. In other cases front doors have been kicked in.
"It's just been one house after another. They're picking us off one by one as we move in," said Shanee Madden, President of the Homeowners Association. "At this point I don't feel like it's if my house is going to get broken into, it's when."
This planned home development is meant to be a safe and secure place to provide limited income families the opportunity to realize their dreams of home ownership.
Madden said the thieves are bold. Most times they simply walk up to the door and knock, but once they didn't wait to see if anyone would answer.
"They kicked her door in. She was on the phone with 911 when they came around the corner and she screamed and they ran. You know she was there in her house. She was alone," said Madden.
"It's very frustrating. I just can't tell you how frustrated we are for our families in Hope Crossing," said Ann Felton, Chairman of Central Oklahoma's Habitat for Humanity.
Felton said break-ins aren't the only danger.
"I mean some guy is going around and just tapping on bedroom windows at night, scaring our single moms. It's just ridiculous. I mean, they're just so brazen about it," said Felton.
There is fear, concern, but also determination to stop this. Residents have their eyes peeled and have set up a texting network to get the word out quickly about anything suspicious.
"We have descriptions of cars. We've passed around license plate numbers. Things like that. So we have it circulating on e-mail as well," said Madden. "We will not continue to allow them to do this. I mean we have all worked so hard to get our homes. I personally pulled 251 of my own hours to build my house. And that's not something I'm about to let go of lightly."
Madden would love to see a bigger police presence in this area but short of that, wants the thieves to know that residents are about to start their own random patrols.
Felton said so many people have blessed her organization over the years. And she hopes that now someone might have the means to step forward and help this neighborhood pay for private security patrols.
Habitat for Humanity is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for these break-ins. Call Habitat for Humanity at (405) 232-4828.