Purse Bandit Strikes Again

Another Tyler home was burglarized Tuesday morning, and police say the burglar's technique is eerily similar to a series of smash and grab purse burglaries that began last May.

So far there's been 29 total.

It happened to a Tyler woman who lives on the 2200 block of Airline Drive on the southeast side of town. Police say the woman woke up this morning to the sound of someone kicking in her back door.

Police do not have a description of a suspect, and don't know if there's more than one.

But this morning, the victim, Betty Hodges said her case may have given police some groundbreaking clues.

Hodges says she ran to her kitchen shortly after 5 a.m., when she heard someone kick in her backdoor.

She, then, found her purse missing from the kitchen table.

Police say the burglar scaled Hodge's back fence and first attempted to break-in through a garage door...before moving to the french doors.

Once inside, the burglar snatched the purse, which had credit cards, cash and personal papers inside. Police say the suspect left within seconds and used a patio chair in the backyard to get over the fence.

Police say this burglary is identical to at least 28 other burglaries that have occurred in the last year. It left Hodges nervous, but she was glad police were able to freeze her credit cards and checking account shortly after the burglary.

In previous cases, the burglar used the cards within an hour of stealing them.

"I feel extremely violated that they came into my property and smashed and woke me and scared me to death," said Hodges. "So, I would caution everybody to be sure to check your windows, doors, pull your curtains."

All police know about the burglar, or burglars, is they work quickly

"He kicks in the door, runs in five steps, grabs it and he's back out..now we're talking maybe 10 to 15 seconds at the very most," said Officer Chris Moore with the Tyler Police Department.

Hodges said investigators took some envelopes from her kitchen for fingerprints, and are analyzing footprints left in pollen on her patio chair. Once again, police are warning everyone to keep purses and wallets away from windows where burglars can see them.