Gates family speaks out after teenagers break into their home and steal cars
GATES, N.Y. (WHEC) — This week, Gates Police say a group of teenagers went through several neighborhoods, attempting to break into homes and steal cars.
One family in Gates were unfortunate victims, as officers say the group snuck into the house and made off with two cars.
“Thinking that somebody has the audacity to break into your house while you’re sleeping is, to me, very disgusting. They don’t have that right,” said Cathy Slocum, a homeowner in Gates.
Slocum and her family say they feel violated and scared that a group of teenagers are brazen enough to break into their house and steal their cars while they were sleeping.
“They came along the back. I love the night air, so I had some of the windows open. I have an in-law suite, so they went around to the back and cut the screen,” Slocum said.
In the surveillance video provided by Slocum, you can see a group of six people going through the victim’s backyard, approaching her house. Slocum says after cutting the living room screen window, they climbed in, went into the kitchen and opened the doors for the rest of the group. She says they grabbed the car keys and off they went in the dark of the night.
“I got up in the morning to go to work, and I walked by the window. I saw the screen and thought maybe it was one of the cats chasing something. I went out the door to leave for work and said, ‘Wait a minute, there’s two cars missing,’” Slocum said.
Lt. Dave Sapienza of Gates Police says this is happening around the area, but there has not been a clear pattern of where or when it is going to happen next.
“They don’t keep the stolen car for very long before they end up grabbing another one. They just abandon them. They go for a joy ride. They don’t have their own vehicles, so they use other people’s,” Lt. Sapienza said.
Although frightening and upsetting, Slocum has a positive attitude and says there is a silver lining.
“One thing these kids did without realizing this is they brought people together. The number of neighbors that have come to my door, showing me their cameras, telling me if you need anything – just the community itself and the Gates Police have been absolutely wonderful,” Slocum said.
And, resilience is one thing Cathy says they cannot steal.
“I won’t let them take that from me. They’re not going to let them let me live in fear,”
Both of Slocum’s cars were eventually recovered but Gates Police say the six suspects have not been arrested, so it is an ongoing investigation. Cathy recommends viewers to be vigilant and Lt. Sapienza says the number one thing for people to remember is to always keep everything locked.