Cellphone video leads to arrest in brazen Northeast burglaries

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - The Langston and Carver Terrace neighborhoods in Northeast D.C. are under attack - and one resident caught a crime in progress on cellphone video.

In the video, one can see a burglar break into a home and start taking the owner's property, loading it into a trash can. In the video, the burglar can be seen trying to fit a large flatscreen television into the bin.

"I saw a man kicking down the door," the resident said, prompting him to grab his phone and start recording the incident. Then he called the police, who arrived immediately on the scene.

This burglar kicked his way into Hazel’s home, and what’s frightening is that Hazel was there caring for a paralyzed friend, who can’t get around. He was also home when the thief went upstairs and rummaged through bedroom drawers.

Although the burglar was eventually caught, other residents whose homes have also been hit do not think the war is over yet. Another house in the neighborhood was broken into Wednesday morning, as well as the house next door.

Robert Hazelhad just just the house 20 minutes earlier. When he came back, it was too late.

"I had locked the door and just gone down the street," he says incredulously.

Hazel went to the gym, and shortly after that, someone broke in through the back kitchen door, came into the living room, and snatched the 37-inch flatscreen. He then exited the home through the same kitchen door, leaving footprints on the kitchen floor.

Hiding behind a car at times, the suspect in the video struggles with the TV and goes in and out of the house a few times. Eventually he takes off running when he sees a police car pull up to the alley.

"I called the police [and they] arrived very quickly," the vigilant neighbor says.

The neighbor behind that call and the video doesn't want to show his face or be identified, but because of his quick thinking, an arrest was made late Wednesday morning.

Unfortunately, residents are confident there are more then one burglar, leaving others still out there.

A woman who lives just down the street has been hit a couple of times - most recently on Sunday night. She says a group of young men kicked down her door while she was at home.

"[They] took my TV, my bikes and my deep fryer," she said.

The advisory neighborhood commissioner (ANC) says, since the start of the year, there have been close to 30 of these home break-ins.

"This has been going on for four to five months now," Hazel says.

The ANC advises homeowners to keep their supercans - one of the thieves' tools of choice - indoors, as one way to hopefully discourage the thefts.