KIM KOMANDO

The story about when a SWAT team stormed my house

Mar 3, 2024, 5:00 AM

Home surveillance on the walls....

(Pexels Photo)

(Pexels Photo)

Feb. 16 started like any typical Friday night. My husband and I decided to stay home, grill chicken and make a salad for dinner. At about 6:45 p.m., we heard some loud rumbling overhead.

We walked onto the back patio, and two police helicopters were overhead — shining lights all over our property, and a recording echoed, “Police. You are under arrest. Stay right there and I won’t shoot you.”

As I looked across the fence, a swarm of armed members of the Phoenix SWAT Team with a few dogs were circling our property. One of the guys said, “Yeah, there’s a jammer right here.” He picked it up. I leaned over the patio and asked, “What’s going on?”

The police told me to go inside

A SWAT member said, “Ma’am, A South American gang is targeting homes to steal from. The jammer says you might have been next. Do we have permission to enter your property?” I said, “Yes!” and then he asked something like, “If we find anyone, will you pursue charges so we can arrest them?” I replied, “Of course!”

I opened the driveway gates to our property and the guest house while Barry tossed the police keys to open the security gates. It turns out that when the gang saw we were home, they likely diverted their attention to the house next door. A house four doors down from us wasn’t so lucky.

The homeowner left at 5 p.m. to have dinner and got a notification his security cameras were offline at 5:05 pm. He thought the internet went down. The gang broke in and took $25,000 in cash and valuables worth $100,000. They were in and out in less than 10 minutes.

How are they getting away with this?

The gang places cellular and Wi-Fi jammers around the homes they’re targeting. This way, security cameras and phones are useless. A Phoenix police officer told me the gang probably noticed nothing was down in our house.

Our home’s security cameras and internet are hard-wired. Even when the thieves tried to jam the Wi-Fi signals, the security camera’s red lights showed they were recording everything. We also still have a landline.

But how frightening is that? Your phone doesn’t work. Your cameras aren’t recording anything. On the upside, the gang doesn’t carry guns. If they get caught, they’ll spend about six months in jail before being extradited back to Chile.

If you’d like to watch the action captured by my security cameras, I showed them during a Kim Komando Today video stream. I am so thankful for our police force.

Nothing is random

The gang thoroughly scopes out homes beforehand. They drive the neighborhood and look up homes on real estate sites to get an idea of where the primary bedroom is located. They look for dogs, too.

It’s not only a problem in Phoenix. This is happening all over the country. A friend was robbed by a similar gang in a guard-gated community in California. Kudos to Phoenix Police — they arrested three members of the gang who were in my neighborhood that night.

Invest in tech

We built our home, so it was easy to install the wiring for the internet and almost everything connected to it for the fastest connection that also won’t be susceptible to a jammer. Of course, you can hardwire after construction, but that’s costly and often unrealistic. Here are some options:

  • Wireless cameras go kaput with no signal. Try a wired camera for backup.
  • A cam with SD card storage is nice, too, because it’ll still record if there’s no Wi-Fi.
  • Put up motion-activated lights. It makes it harder for anyone to sneak around.
  • A femtocell (think of it as a mini cell tower) could be enough to keep your connection if thieves drop jammers outside — T-Mobile or Verizon.
  • Have an Amazon Echo? Away mode lets you control lights so it looks like the house is occupied.
  • This innovative gadget makes it look like someone’s watching TV at your house when you’re not there.
  • Put security signs on your property. Here are two for $7.99.

Get your house offline

  • Check Zillow, Realtor.com and Redfin for photos of your house. The more crooks know about the layout, the better for them. Here’s how to remove those pics.

Zillow

  • Visit online and type in your address. Verify you’re the legal owner by selecting your name from the drop-down list.
  • Click the profile icon and select Your Home from the menu option. Click on the tile for your home, then Edit Facts from the Owner View of the property page.
  • Click the X in the corner of the photo or click on an individual photo and Remove Photo. To remove all images, click Delete all photos. Hit Save Changes.

Realtor

  • Visit online, type in your address and click Claim Your Home on your home’s profile page.
  • Log into your profile and go to your owner dashboard under the My Home tab. Click the Remove Photos button.

Redfin

  • After creating an account and claiming your home, you can make changes from your Owner Dashboard.
  • Log into Redfin and go to your Owner Dashboard using the drop-down menu under your name in the top-right corner of the page.
  • Click on your home and Edit Photos, then Hide listing photos. Click Yes, Hide Photos when it pops up.

You’re not done yet. It’s a good idea to blur your house from Google Maps and Apple Maps while you’re at it.

PODCAST PICK: Budget Ozempic, avoid return fees & online piracy amps up

Plus, we’re TikTok tips that pros warn are your plants’ worst nightmare. Andrew has a wild story about getting scammed on a dating app. It’s cold outside, so here are some top tricks for staying warm with your tech. And, as always, listener letters. You won’t believe what one guy called me.

Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Today” on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando.”

Sound like a tech pro, even if you’re not! Award-winning popular host Kim Komando is your secret weapon. Listen on 425+ radio stations or get the podcast. And join over 400,000 people who get her free 5-minute daily email newsletter.

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The story about when a SWAT team stormed my house