Special Report: Go inside the mind of a repeat burglar
FOX 31 sat down with a Dougherty County Jail inmate to discuss what goes through his mind as he's picking which home or business he's going to break into and what goes through his head as he's in the home.
We're concealing the inmate's identity; however he's served time in jail and federal prison over the last 12 years on various charges including burglary.
He says he's tried to make money the legal way, but with a drug habit, no job could provide the type of cash needed to fund his habit. "It's just easier to go in someone's house and break in their house and take it than it is riding around all night trying to pick up scraps and recycle them. I've gone up to front doors and I be like 'ma'am can I mow your yard or can I do something' and they be like 'no we don't do that we don't need your help, we don't need none of that'. And then they go and spend all kinds of money so I felt like you know they don't want to help me so why not take their stuff?" he says.
Whether busting out a window or kicking in a door, once inside a home or business he says money was the one thing on his mind. "I'm looking for computers, TV's, jewelry...just anything you think you can carry out cause most people that do this type of stuff they're walking around - they're not driving. They're just walking through neighborhoods and whatever they see they just do" he says.
When it comes to picking a location â" he says security signs or camera's don't matter. "I can go in, get out before the police are near the neighborhood and boom â" I'm gone with your stuff. Even when I was high I knew to hide my face so cameras don't matter" he says. Affluent neighborhoods were particularly interesting to him because he says he got away with a lot. "I was walkin' down the road with this man's TV on my head, just walkin' down the road with it in the middle of the neighborhood. People lookin' at me and everything and they're not even thinkin' nothin' they're just lookin' at me like it's me and my TV, but they're not thinkin 'why is this man walkin' down the road with a TV on his shoulder walkin' down the road and I've never seen him before? He's got tattoos all over him, I know he doesn't belong here" but they ain't thinkin' about that. They ain't calling the police â" it's just something that nobody thinks of" he says. When people don't call the cops on him he says that neighborhood becomes a target and gives the intruder a sense of power because they got away with a crime.
The inmate told FOX 31 that most people don't pay attention to their neighbors let alone look out for them so the one thing that would make him pass by a house is an active neighborhood watch. "If you had people that sat out on their front porch all day or someone that was gettin' paid to do something like that then that might deter people from coming down the street. Because if they see people sitting there all the time looking at them then they're not going to do anything because they know the police are gonna get called on them and sometimes that might help 'em that might prevent 'em, they might get scared and might not never do it again. I know I didn't.
He says he regrets a lot of things he's done in his life. "I've done a lot of wrong and even though I was high and it was to fund a drug habit â" wrong is wrong. You shouldn't steal and that's wrong in any kind of way - you shouldn't think like that but once you've been out there doin it for a long time that's the stuff you think of. My wife is locked up because of me. I know now that there are places I could have gone to get a job. Any job is better than being in jail or prison. I could've been my own businessman, but I was on that stuff and took the easy route. It didn't always feel good takin people's stuff, but I did what I thought I had to do.
After leaving the Dougherty County Jail, the inmate will serve time in prison on burglary charges. He says he's had enough and is making an honest effort to change his life. He wants anyone thinking about stealing to know that eventually you will get caught, and all homeowners to know that if you don't look out for your neighbors â" you all become sitting targets.