The Night a Burglar Knocked on My Door

Tuesday, December 30, 2014 Stef dela Cruz, MD 0 Comments

I saw the sharp spikes of the forged iron that crowned the eight-foot gates. I saw the barbed wire, strung in three parallel lines atop the high cement walls of the apartment building, then wound around in a horizontal spiral for good measure.

The apartment I wanted to rent felt like Fort Knox. I loved it.

I found the beautiful two-bedroom apartment with stone floors and a ceiling arch when I went house-hunting online. I remember crossing my fingers when I saw the ad, hoping the property provided enough security if I ever decided to rent it.

So, when I saw the almost-excessive way the property was protected against anybody who thought it was a good idea to jump over the walls, I knew it was “the one”. I signed the lease the very same day I went there for an ocular inspection.

burglarLast night, a stranger banged on my door. I found out he was a burglar.

But four months later, a stranger banged loudly on my door, looking for a fictitious woman. (Is Jade here?) Based on the events that took place that night, it was easy for me to figure out one scary truth: The stranger who knocked on my door was scouting my new home for a potential home invasion.

“Knock-Knock Burglars”: The new modus operandi for akyat-bahay gangs

I was mad that the stranger even made it to my door in the first place. “This is the Fort Knox of apartments!” I thought. How did he manage to get inside the gates? (Answer: He rang the doorbell of the upstairs apartment and a clueless household helper opened the gate.)

The man didn’t look like a criminal at all. He looked like a decent man and I wouldn’t have been suspicious, if not for the fact that he said he “visited Jade here before” and that he would “just text Jade to ask where she was”.

Seriously? Why didn’t he text the non-existent Jade before he rang the doorbells of all the apartment units in our building? Besides, if he had been here before, wouldn’t he know which apartment Jade rented?

Thankfully, he left. I think my dog (he was barking rabidly, the wonderful canine angel!) and my very hostile demeanor scared him off! But just imagine if I wasn’t home. Or if I didn’t have a dog. Or if, for some reason, I chose not to answer the door, giving him the impression that nobody was home.

Things would have gone horribly. Last night, I was just terribly lucky.

I did a little digging and was surprised to find out that just this year, a series of burglaries plagued several areas abroad, including Texas, California, and New Jersey. Called “knock-knock burglars”, these home intruders would knock on doors before they broke in.

Our city has been plagued by similarly-staged home invasion robberies lately. A group of burglars would scout the premises and do surveillance. If they saw a promising target, they would initiate first contact by frantically knocking on the door. It was how they made sure nobody was home.

What you can do right now

I would never have imagined that my home would be targeted by a burglar, yet it was. So, yes, this kind of door-knock burglary can also happen to you! Here’s what you can do right this moment to protect your family from burglars and potential intruders.

  1. Take the time to read these tips on how to stop a home invasion in its tracks – share what you learn with everyone in your household, especially the household help and kids, because they are the ones who are left at home after you leave for work. You can also read more on the techniques used by knock-knock burglars – arm yourself with information because it’s the best way you can protect your family from any burglary-related ruse.
  2. I also found this awesome list of tips on what to do to keep burglars from even wanting to check out your home. I’ve bookmarked it; so should you.
  3. Lastly, don’t forget to share this information with your friends! Do it right now before you forget. Before last night, I never knew of knock-knock burglars. If I did, I would have been a lot more vigilant!

Spread the word about the M.O. that resulted in recently successful burglaries in the United States. It looks like the Pinoy burglars, a.k.a. akyat-bahay gangs, are learning a thing or two from our Western neighbors. (Well, what’s new?)

Stef dela CruzAbout the blogger
Stef dela Cruz is a doctor and writer. She received the 2013 Award for Health Media from the Department of Health. She maintains a health column in Health.Care Magazine and contributes to The Manila Bulletin. Add her to your circles.