Police Determined To Stop Sand Flat Home Burglaries - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

07/28/08 - Tyler

Police Determined To Stop Sand Flat Home Burglaries

8 homes are broken into in broad daylight within just a few days, and the suspects are still out there.

Authorities tell KLTV 7 that over the past couple of weeks, burglars have hit neighbors in the Sand Flat community hard. That's just north of Tyler State park.

Today, as KLTV 7's Layron Livingston discovered, these brazen burglars could possibly be targeting homes in other parts of Smith county.

"Came up on the front porch... the door was open."

Gary Phillips lives just east of Tyler.

He's only been in his home for 4 months.

"It makes me feel like I got to put bars on my windows and doors," said Phillips.

He wants to keep it from feeling like a prison.

Last Thursday afternoon, Phillips says his home was ransacked.

The suspects got away with electronics, jewelry, and even made off with 11 guns from his cabinet.

"One shotgun in the whole bunch was my dad's, and that just made me hit the floor when I seen it was gone," said Phillips today. 

"They just walk up the house, knock on the door, and of course, if nobody answers, they just use a crowbar and kick it in."

A few miles away in the Sand Flat community, Smith County Precinct 4 Constable John Smith and his deputies are stepping up patrol. One home was hit three times in less than four days.

"High gas prices, drugs - you name it - there's all kind of motives for burglaries," he told us today.

Tommy Bush says he actually saw them in action.

"When I drove into the driveway, I noticed a white, four door, looked like a Buick LaSabre," said Bush.

He says the suspects took off, but he followed.

"When they got to Interstate 20 they were driving so recklessly, I just stopped."

Phillips said his neighbors also saw something interesting around the time his home was broken into.

"And they had seen a little white car, midsize white four-door pull up in front of their house...with two hispanic males in it," Phillips recalled.

Residents have now set up a neighborhood watch in Sand Flat, their hope to take back their once quiet neighborhood.

"There's one girl out here that's been broke into three times, and we're tired of it."

"Everybody knows that we're out here, and we're going to stay out here," until the burglars are caught.

  Layron Livingston, Reporting llivingston@kltv.com

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