Man uses doggy door to break into home

Crystal Clark Reports

- St. Petersburg police are searching for the suspect who broke into the home through a doggy door on 57th Street N earlier this month.

The man was captured on surveillance video back on July 13 stretching his body out on the back porch, allowing his arm to stretch through the doggy door and up to the lock.

He was able to unlock the door and shake the chain lock loose.

"We've seen in the past. Smaller kids and teens get through very small openings, like doggy doors, to get inside homes," said Rick Shaw, spokesperson for the St. Petersburg Police Department.

The burglar roamed around inside the home for 11 minutes, and was later seen on video walking out through the back door, covering his face with his shirt.

He wiped the door handle clean before fleeing nearly empty-handed.

"He didn't get anything other than the doggy door," said Shaw.

According to the homeowner, the suspect went in his bedroom after possibly seeing the television monitors for the security system. The homeowner believes that the suspect may have realized he was caught on camera, forcing him to leave in a haste.

The attempted burglary has other dog owners in the area concerned.

"It's kind of scary," said Bill Gross, who owns two miniature dachshunds.  That's the same breed as the homeowner nearly burglarized.

"I personally wouldn't have one of those [doggy doors]. You never know; you can't take chances in any neighborhood," said Gross.

St. Petersburg police encourage dog owners with doggy doors to make sure the flap is locked when they are not at home.  A double cylinder lock on each door of the home is preferred over a chain lock, because it is stronger.

Dog owners should also consider putting doggy doors in unsuspecting places.

"Put the doggy door in the wall if possible. People can kick in a door, but it's really hard to get through a wall," said Shaw.

St. Petersburg police are asking anyone who recognizes the burglary suspect to text them anonymously at "TIP411."

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