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The 6 Second Garage Door Break-In You Can Prevent
Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 04:15 PM CDT
A wire hanger is all a thief needs to bust into your garage. A number of online videos show how it's done. Which made us question how easy it is and what you can do to protect your home. We're not going to show you the entire process, but, Consumer Reporter Bettie Cross will demonstrate an inexpensive and easy way to keep from becoming a victim.
It's quick, easy and happening too often in Austin and San Antonio.
"Every time I go inspect a home they get a big shock because they see how easy it is to get in," said Deputy R.B. Garcia.
Garage doors are one of the most vulnerable entry points to your house. Armed only with a wire hanger thieves can either hook the cord to the release handle or hook the release handle directly. Then all they have to do is lift the garage door and they're in.
And once they're gotten this far, they've come up with a way to get by home security systems.
"They've already seen the sign out there in the front saying you have an alarm system. So they kick the door open but they don't go in," said the Bexar County Sheriff's Deputy. "The alarm system is tripped which alerts police. The officers and deputies get out there. Check the windows and doors and everything's secure," explained Deputy Garcia.
But, the thief is hiding inside the garage. The deputy says a buddy up the street lets the thief know when the officers are gone.
"Then he goes in and his buddy comes over and they load up and they leave," said Deputy Garcia.
Don Grenier owns Cedar Park Overhead Doors. He heard about the six second break-in from a customer. After watching an internet how-to video, that's gotten well over 1million hits, he was ready to help you fight back.
First, we asked Don and senior service tech Matt Kaup to put the technique to the test. On his very first attempt, Matt maneuvered the hanger around for two minutes and then he snagged the target. After a little practice Matt whittled his time to 20 seconds.
"Actually I think it was easier than I thought it was going to be," said Matt.
It's an easy crime, but Don says there's an easy way to prevent it. Take a plastic zip tie that you can get at any home improvement store and thread it through the emergency release latch. It's strong enough to prevent the latch from being pulled open by a hanger, but you could bust it in an emergency.
"Alright I did. It took all my weight but I was able to break the tie," said reporter Bettie Cross in a test of the zip ties.
It's a $5 insurance policy that will only leave the thieves and their hanger, bent out of shape.
The garage door Bettie tested had windows which make it even easier for a thief to get the wire hanger on the emergency release latch. But with practice thieves can do this entirely by feel. So no matter what type of garage door you have a few minutes and a few dollars are all you need to protect yourself.
By Bettie Cross