And after the crimes, they say the suspects would go back to the victims’ apartments, posing as maintenance men, trying to fix the damage before the cops were called.
"This glass was broken and also this window right here," Yvonne Rogers, pointing around her apartment. The West End mother of two says returning home from a 40-minute trip to the grocery store has shattered her sense of security.
"It's nerve-wracking," said Rogers.
Rogers says thieves got away with her TV, radio and knick-knacks. But what was most alarming she says, is learning the crooks were trying to cover their tracks by saying they worked for the apartment complex.
“They would come and say I'm the maintenance guy and try and fix things before the police came,” she said. “In my case though, the real maintenance guy came and fixed my lock."
Henrico Police had been working nearly a half-dozen burglary cases in the Pepperwood and Shadowood Court areas of the Cardinal Forest apartment complex. They say a few break-ins happened when folks weren't home, but say that changed later.
“There were two break-ins that we know of, where people were at home and suspects were confronted," said Det. David Paul.
According to police, information from those victims led them to the arrest of 18-year-old Austin Eberhardt, a neighbor down the street. Two juvenile accomplices who were not from the complex were also picked out in a photo line-up.
“The adult faces three felonies and the juveniles two for burglary and grand larceny," said Paul.
Serious charges for three men early in life. Rogers forgives, but doesn't forget. “He needs to make better choices in his life," said Rogers.
Police say it's a good time to remind folks to have the serial numbers of high end electronics written down and put in a safe place.