CRIME

District Heights couple victimized by unusual home burglary

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A District Heights couple is the victim of an unusual home burglary.

Photo: Jessica Culver

Someone broke into the townhouse next door, and then cut through the wall to get into their home.

When they got home, they found a hole in the wall and their possessions gone – including a child’s piggy bank.

Jessica Culver and her partner Latonya Elliott thought they were locked up tight, alarm turned on. But they hadn't counted on criminals busting through their bedroom wall from the neighboring townhouse that’s been mostly vacant and in foreclosure.

“It was just an open hole. I could see into my neighbors master bedroom,” Culver says.

“I'm extremely upset," Elliott says."The bank knew people were in and out. And they didn't take time to secure the home.”

And Elliott knows something about security. She’s a D.C. police officer.

Thousands of dollars worth of electronics and jewelry were stolen. Priceless videos and photos. Even Culver's daughter's piggy bank.

“I don't feel secure at all," Culver says.  "When someone doesn't come through door or window, what do you do?”  

After ABC7 called the Prince George's County Dept. of Environmental Resources, a code inspector arrived within two hours.

The inspector said the wall was up to code and it would stop a fire, but declined to speak about whether it would stop someone from breaking into the home next door.

The inspector was surprised he doesn't see this more often. But Officer Elliott's never seen a crime scene quite like this.

“You never want to think you could be a victim,” Elliott says. 

The burglars left behind lots of fingerprints. And the biggest TV, which apparently wouldn't fit through the hole.

Responding to questions from ABC7, Michael McCoy, a representative of Wells Fargo, the bank that holds the note on the foreclosed home next door, said their last reports showed the house wasn’t vacant.

Wells Fargo, McCoy said in an email to ABC7, has “a dedicated property preservation department that, conducts monthly inspections to ensure it is maintained in accordance with local standards, completes property registrations as required by local ordinances and resolves any violations, fines or fees , completes maintenance work, such as mowing, removal of hazardous debris, and making repairs to prevent housing code and other violations. They also secure and winterize the homes.”

Wells Fargo is taking responsibility for securing the townhouse and they are hiring a subcontractor to repair the hole fully this weekend. They also offered to pay for the burglary victims to stay in a hotel.

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