Burglars get picky when stealing tools

Lawton_A new twist on an old problem -- burglars ripped off some West Lawton residents, but they were very picky about what they stole. Whoever it was stole tools out of two barns, broke into two cars and stole a truck. But the twist is while the robbers made off with thousands of dollars worth of tools, they left behind items that are worth thousands more.

It happened early this week in the Quail Springs addition on the west end of town. Neighbors say it happened some time between midnight and 3:30 a.m. Some neighbors speculate that these burglars were on a mission since they only took specific tools. What worries neighbors most, is they may have been scoping out the neighborhood for weeks prior to the thefts.

"I feel very violated," said Melanie Nordeen, whose barn was broken into. "I thought I lived in a safe neighborhood, and we've never had any trouble out here an it's just very disturbing and scary to know that someone came on your property and took things."

It was a neighborhood they all thought was safe, but Monday morning that all changed when several neighbors woke up to see they had been robbed.

"There's been times that we don't lock our door over night every night, so it was like, 'ok, it will be from now on'," said Carol Unruh, whose truck was stolen and found the next day, vandalized. "Our garage door stays up a lot, and it won't be now and we'll be looking around our surroundings and see who drives out here."

Neighbors are more disturbed that the thefts were so targeted, with the burglars picking and choosing their loot, while leaving several valuable things behind.

"They were very meticulous in what they picked, what they chose," Nordeen said. "They were after certain items, or so it appears to look like."

But the Unruhs lost more than just the tool box and drill set in their truck, they temporarily lost the truck too.

"But the funny thing was that the truck was hooked up to the boat out there," Unruh said. "And they didn't take the boat, so we were really surprised."

But it looks like they were mostly after tools. And neighbors worry they may have been targeted, because the burglars knew what they wanted -- and they knew where to get it.

"We don't know if it was someone who knew us, or perhaps did some work for us, or if it was just a person in the neighborhood and they just happened to get lucky," Nordeen said.

"There's always someone that wants something for free," Unruh said. "You work hard for things, and it's disheartening to think that you lose things that you've worked hard for yourself."

The Comanche County Sheriff's Department didn't release any information on the investigatin, but neighbors say they are working on a couple of leads.  Neighbors believe the tools were possibly stolen by someone in the contracting business, because all of the tools were specifically intended for construction and home building.

The items stolen include a twin-tank air compressor, cordless drills, several types of nailers, a sander, a tile saw, and a sprayer, to name a few. In total, the equipment stolen from the Nordeen's barn costs more than $6,000.  If you have any information on this string of burglaries -- call Crimestoppers at 355-INFO. As always, you can remain anonymous.