WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) For our FactFinder 12 Investigative Series, "Criminal Minds," our team has been telling you what burglars are looking for, what deters them and how to keep your home and family safe.
We went a step farther and set up a home burglary in a real family's home. The family let Eyewitness News Personal Protection Expert Joe Schillaci inside the home and we gave him a maximum of 12 minutes to take whatever he could.
If the belongings were too big or too fragile, we had Schillaci tag them and tell us he'd take them as to alleviate any potential damage to the family's home. For the rest of the small things, they went into the backpack he brought with him.
"So what I would do is I would normally come up and knock on the door to wait to see if somebody answers," Schillaci explains to our photojournalist as he follows him during the burglary. Schillaci said if someone answered, he'd ask for a fake person and then leave saying he had the wrong house. If nobody answers, he'd try to find a way in.
For our exercise, we didn't have Schillaci break into the home as to not damage the family's home. We had the door unlocked for him so he could focus on taking what's inside.
THE BREAK IN
Schillaci entered as Matt and Kerry (we are not using their last name or address for safety reasons) sat down in our studio with their two daughters.
"The first thing I'm going to do is a real quick cursory," Schillaci said. "I don't see any electronics at least right away that I can grab to put in my bag."
He moves quickly.
"So I'll make my way into the master bedroom. Usually that's where I would go first, the master bedroom, to see if there's any credit cards laying around, any kind of medicines, jewelry," he said.
"Can you tell what he's going through?" Investigator Devon Fasbinder asked the couple as they watched.
"Nightstand," Kerry answers.
"My nightstand," Matt responds.
"What's in your nightstand?" Kerry asks.
"Nothing. Electronics, chargers," Matt responds.
"No, there's some pills," Kerry says.
"Oh yeah, medicine," he answers.
Schillaci took medicine and Matt's tablet that was in his nightstand before moving on.
"Okay I'm looking anywhere behind doors. Sometimes guns get left behind doors," Schillaci said as he heads over to Kerry's nightstand. "Again a cursory, just real quick look. You know people like to leave their valuables."
He begins to go through Kerry's organizer in her nightstand and finds a glasses case, some cash and a flashlight. The flashlight got a humorous reaction from the family.
"He has a flashlight and everything," one of the couple's daughters said.
"Oh he took my flashlight? That's my flashlight!" Kerry responds, laughing.
Schillaci goes through the dresser and finds some jewelry boxes, a few small things and a change purse with some cash and change in it. He then tackles the closet.
"He spent a lot of time in the master, that surprises me," Matt said as he watched Schillaci head to the closet. "I guess we don't keep anything valuable in our master bedroom but I guess some people might. That's the first place he went, he has to have a reason to go there I would think."
Schillaci also made note that if he were a true burglar, he wouldn't be as careful as he was being for our simulation. He was conscious of Kerry and Matt's home and didn't want to leave an extreme mess or break anything. He said that slowed him down a little but he still looked in the places burglars check.
He enters the closet.
"I'm looking for any kind of guns that might be left. I'm looking for a safe that I can pick up and grab and go with," Schillaci said.
"This would go," he says as he opens a jewelry box and tags another.
"Oh yeah, pay dirt," Schillaci says as he opens another box.
"He's found some jewelry now," Matt says. "Oh that's not good. That's our watch."
"Oh the closet is pay dirt. Definite pay dirt, definite pay dirt. Okay,' Schillaci says."
"Yeah he's hitting the mother load," Matt says as he watches Schillaci take his Rolex watch box with the watch inside.
Schillaci said he'd stop in the bathroom for any cash lying around or any medicines. He said he wouldn't spend too much time there. He then went to the children's rooms.
"Kids rooms to see if they left any valuables," Schillaci says. "Here's a phone. Oh you can definitely sell that," he says as he grabs a toy and some electronics.
"Oh definitely take this," Schillaci says as he comes upon the family's small dog in its crate in one of the girl's rooms. "Oh wee baby, I'm sorry to tell you this. Just so you know I'd be taking this little baby with me. You'd be gone, very valuable dog," he says.
Schillaci makes his way to the kitchen has his time is ticking down.
"Refrigerator, refrigerator. Freezer, freezer," Schillaci says.
"I don't know what he would be looking for in there," Kerry says as she watches.
"Sometimes they hide money in freezers," Schillaci says. "So I'd be looking through the freezer, seeing if any money is hiding in aluminum foil. I wouldn't spend too much time but I would look, I would take a quick look."
With that, Schillaci's time is up and he leaves Matt and Kerry's home.
While Matt and Kerry saw much of what Schillaci took live as it happened, there were some smaller things they didn't realize he grabbed. We brought the family back home as Schillaci emptied his backpack, explaining why he took what he did.
He starts by pulling a Coach purse out of his backpack that feels full.
"I didn't even look in this I don't even know what's in here," Schillaci says. "I didn't even take the time. I knew there was something in there so I was like just, I'll look at it later."
Schillaci then pulls out a green box and said he had found one of them empty in the master bedroom. When he went into the closet and found one that wasn't empty, he got excited.
"I said oh this is pay dirt because that means he's collecting whatever is in here so when I opened it up I knew right away. I knew that's a quality watch," he said.
"It's a Rolex," Matt said.
But Schillaci gave some insight on stolen items, saying what homeowners find to be valuable, burglars just see as something else to pawn.
"A burglar, he's going to make some money on this but he's not looking like oh this is a Rolex," Schillaci says. "He's just wanting watches, jewelry, whatever is easy for him to get rid of. Because in most cases, they're not making big bucks because in most cases they're doing this to get their next fix."
Schillaci also found some glasses cases that didn't turn out to be worth much, cell phones, a tablet and a few cheap pieces of jewelry.
Then he pulled out a small change purse.
"I got really, really super excited when I saw this. Believe it or not. I got more excited when I saw this. I was excited with the Rolex but again this is what excites. Because this is change. It's loose change. It's ten dollars," Schillaci said. "It was easy for me to grab. This is what's going to support my habit right here."
Schillaci said many burglars are stealing to feed an addiction whether it's drugs or alcohol. He said the goal is to get quick cash, not steal something nice to wear it or give to someone else.
"I grabbed this. I saw this in a drawer," Schillaci says as he pulls out a pair of pliers. "This is a decent tool and it's small. I wouldn't go into your garage, rifle through your tool box just because it's too heavy. That would be too time consuming."
Schillaci then pulls the toy out of his bag that he took from one of the girl's rooms.
"Oh he did," Kerry said. "Fidget spinner. Madeline said I wonder if he'll take my fidget spinner."
"Easy," Schillaci said. "That would be an easy thing to barter because they're really popular."
Schillaci then pulls out some medication bottles.
"I don't know what was in these but these are the things they're looking for. They're looking for prescription medication. To sell or to take because the majority of them coming in are addicted to drugs, alcohol so they're going to be looking in your medicine cabinets," he said.
Matt asked about TV's, saying he assumed Schillaci would have tagged the TV's to take.
"They're not going to take the time to rip TVs off the wall," Schillaci said. "They're too big, they're hard to get rid of."
Schillaci also brought up the small dog in one of the girl's rooms. He said because it's a dog that's likely worth thousands of dollars, he would have taken it. He said it would be easy to sell to pet lovers.
That surprised the family but they did agree it was an expensive dog.
Devon Fasbinder asked, "What would you say is the one thing that you didn't think he'd take?"
"This, I mean, change, you know," Kerry said as she picked up the small change purse. "That was like a huge find for him. I expected this (the watch) and this (the electronics) and the pills but I never thought they would get excited over loose change."
"Absolutely," Schillaci said. "Yeah, because he doesn't have to worry about going to somebody to sell that."
After the burglary, Schillaci gave Kerry and Matt some tips on how to secure some of their items more safely. For the family's safety after this story, we aren't explaining his specific tips for their home. The family did volunteer for this simulation, but Eyewitness News wants to be vigilant at minimizing harm.