The Watch with Will Kennedy: Open Door for Thieves

 CHARLOTTE, NC — You’re mowing the lawn, the kids are playing down the street or you just forgot to close the garage door. It’s all the opening a thief needs.

One Highland Creek family learned that hard lesson Monday, leading to a neighborhood chase and a suspect’s arrest.

“One of my friends down there, he saw the guy come in the garage, so I sprinted down here,” says Riley Coffin. “And then the guy, the lookout over there, was yelling at him to get out because I was coming.”

The kids were outside playing. Dad was just home from work. The garage door was open.

“There was a 16-year old, about six foot, gentleman in our garage holding two of our boys’ Air Soft handguns," says Highland Creek resident Heather Coffin.

Coffin’s husband, Scott, confronted the teen in his garage, chased him out and followed him. The suspect threatening Coffin the whole way.

“Did not ever give up the chase,” says Heather. “In his socks. All up and down Highland Creek Parkway.”

“I mean, it was really scary because we didn’t know where he was,” says Harrison Coffin. “And like my mom said, we were playing just over there.”

CMPD brought in a helicopter and K9 units, quickly picking up Kodie Garvey, who is now charged with felony breaking and entering.

It’s a scenario that becomes all too familiar as the weather heats up. A crime that only takes seconds.

“It doesn’t even have to be somebody that’s preying in a neighborhood, looking for garage doors that are open,” says CMPD Officer Chris Kopp. “Whether it’s kids or adults walking by, seeing your garage door open, seeing what’s inside the garage–the valuables, the lawn equipment–and how easy it is to just snatch something out of there.”

It’s lesson learned for the neighborhood, and for the Coffins, who also had an air compressor stolen from their garage four years ago.

“It is something that you need to think about,” says Heather. “Something that you need to, you know, with your kids playing outside, they need to close the garage when they walk a couple of houses down, I guess. Which is sad.”

“The kids have bikes, and you have lawn mowers, and golf clubs and things like that,” says Laura Andreasen who also lives in Highland Creek. “So anything, you know, is appealing to people. So, yeah, you want to keep your garage shut and keep your doors locked.”

Highland Creek is in CMPD’s University City Division, which saw a 51.7 percent increase in residential burglaries in the first quarter of this year.