Police are warning everyone to lock your doors and windows after a man is found in several homes going through people's belongings when they're home.
It's been happening for a couple of weeks with two more home invasions Thursday night. Investigators say the man either goes into the homes when he thinks the people are gone or they are still inside.
Police say it seems to be the work of one man. Victims describe the person as a black male, between 5'8'' and 5'10'', he's in the 180 pound range and has been wearing dark clothing, sometimes wearing gloves and carrying a flashlight. He's also been described as having a moustache.
Eau Claire police tell us the suspect seems to be targeting the Randall Park Neighborhood, which is near the UW-Eau Claire campus off Water Street.
Now they're hoping for more information from witnesses and victims so they can put together a full picture of the crimes.
The area around campus naturally moves a little slower when students go home for the summer, but Eau Claire police say this neighborhood is the target of a busy would-be burglar. He’s been caught several times by the people who live in the homes he's getting into, going through backpacks or personal belongings.
Officer Kyle Roder says the victims tell police they've either been at home when the man comes in or they've returned home to find him going through their things.. He says it appears the suspect could be casing the houses, watching the victims. He says some of the victims have confronted the suspect, and he says he's just looking for someone. Regardless, Roder says the suspect is bold.
Officer Roder told us “it says he smirked, walked out and ran. When people are home it elevates it for us as a police department, could start at one level and go to something more.”
Roder says the best way to prevent this crime is to be proactive and lock your doors and windows at all times, even when you're home. He says all the homes connected to this case so far have had open doors. “I think people often have the false sense of security that it's a safe community and you don't have to lock your windows. It's the opposite, it's a safe community because people take the proper precautions.”
Police want anyone who's noticed something missing or something suspicious to let them know at 715-839-4972. They are hoping for the most detailed and accurate description you can give them so they can make an arrest.
So far they don't have solid information on if the suspect has stolen anything, but think there could be cases that haven't been reported yet.
Officer Roder says he also tweeted about the suspect information Friday, in hopes of getting the word out to the college-age people who may live in the area.