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Sheriff’s Office offers tips to thwart thieves following several burglaries in Isla Vista

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office is offering residents tips and advice to thwart future burglaries after dealing with several crimes in Isla Vista since the start of the school year in which the suspect entered through an unlocked door or an open window.

The latest case happened on the night of Oct. 13, 2018, in the 6600 block of Del Playa Drive. The Sheriff’s Office says 20-year-old Goleta resident Marguan David Lara Mendoza entered the home through an unlocked side door. Two people were home in a bedroom at the back of the home at the time of the burglary.

Authorities say a third person returned home from work and found Lara Mendoza in the process of stealing items in the living room. Both got into a physical fight when the resident tried to prevent Lara Mendoza from leaving with the stolen property. The suspect left before police arrived but was later caught and booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of First-Degree burglary and First-Degree robbery. His bail was set at $100,000 bail.

Here are some safety tips to help prevent becoming a victim of a burglary.

Keep all doors and windows closed and securely fastened. An open window or door is an open invitation for burglars. Doors should have deadbolt locks with a one-inch throw and reinforced strike plate with three-inch screws. All windows should have window locks. Secure sliding glass doors by placing a metal rod or a wooden dowel rod in the track and install vertical bolts. This will help prevent burglars from forcing the door open or lifting it off the track. Always lock the door to an attached garage. Do not rely on your automatic garage door opener for security. Create the illusion that you are home by using timers on lights to make your residence appear occupied, even when no one is home. Keep the perimeter of your home well lit. Installing outdoor lighting is a good way to discourage intruders. Never leave clues that you are away on a trip. Have a trusted neighbor collect mail and deliveries while you are away. You can also ask a neighbor to park in your driveway or parking place to make it appear that you are present. Be mindful of your social media and save the vacation photos until you are safely home. Lastly, report all suspicious activity to law enforcement when it is occurring or as soon as possible.

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