Burglary Suspects Brave Home Fumigation Tents, Sheriffs Issue Warning

Los Angeles Sheriff's Department warns of recent trend in breaking into homes being fumigated.

Over the past several months, there have been numerous burglaries to homes which were being fumigated. 

Because these homes are left vacant when tented, they provide an easy target for criminals willing to risk injury or death from inhaling toxic fumes. 

Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies have been working diligently to stop these crimes. 

Shortly after midnight, Thursday morning, Aug. 23, Carson Sheriff's Station deputies were conducting surveillance in the 19000 block of Dunbrooke Avenue, Carson, when they spotted a suspicious vehicle pass by a tented home several times. 

The deputies watched as the vehicle parked, its occupants looked around, and then drove away. A short time later, the deputies watched as two males jumped over a fence and entered the backyard of the home. 

Knowing the home’s fumigation tent was still secured and that no one should be at the home, the deputies believed a home burglary was in progress. They requested assistance from other patrol units and a Sheriff’s helicopter. 

As deputies began to surround the residence, the suspects noticed them and ran from the home. One surrendered immediately, and the other was captured a short time later with the assistance of the Sheriff’s helicopter. 

Once both suspects were arrested, deputies further checked the home and found that the fumigation tent had been partially removed, allowing access to an open bedroom window. 

Both suspects, Kameron Howard, 21, of Compton, who is currently on active parole for burglary, and Johnny Newman, 23, of Encino, were booked at Carson Sheriff's Station and charged with residential burglary. 

Here are some facts that can also be answered abotu the fumigation procedures:

* California Department of Consumer Affairs Structural Pest Control Board- Questions and Answers Regarding Fumigation For Pest Control 



A. Chemicals used in fumigation are lethal! Exposure to fumigants in a structure being fumigated, even for a few minutes, will result in death or serious injury. Absolutely NO ONE can enter a structure until it has been certified safe for reentry by the licensee in charge of the fumigation. Warning signs are posted in plainly visible locations on or in the immediate vicinity of all entrances. 

To ensure that even the owner or tenant cannot reenter a structure, the company is required to put a secondary lock on all outside doors that only the company can open. These locks can be any device such as padlock, keyway lock or deadbolts from the inside which will prevent opening by anyone but the licensee in charge." 

When your home is being fumigated, be sure to speak with neighbors and ask them to watch your home. Join Neighborhood Watch ! (http://file.lacounty.gov/lasd/cms1_145190.pdf)

Also, contact your local sheriff's station and ask for patrol checks, also known as vacation checks. Read more about vacation checks and Sheriff's Volunteers on Patrol here: 


PM August 26, 2012 at 01:21 AM
This happened to the house next door to me. While it was tented I did notice that the tent was moving - like it was being blown by the wind which must have been when the burglars were in the home - there obviously was some kind of cross breaze goin through the house. At the time I noted that the tent was moving but I had no idea that anyone would be enough of an idiot to try and rob a tented house. I have heard theory that the addresses are being given out by the companies which the fumigation companies use to rent the tents themselves.
Brian Aherne August 26, 2012 at 06:00 AM
How about the possibility of rotten apples among fumigation company employees letting their crook pals know when the fumigant is or should be sufficiently gone so that entry has little or no risk. Not a good risk, but for some good enough.
Todd Bianco August 26, 2012 at 02:57 PM
So he clever meth cooking scenario from Breaking Bad this season was based in some reality. In the show, they cook meth inside a house that is being fumigated - a tent within a tent. As part of the plot, the fumigation company could case each house they fumigated and if there was stuff worth stealing, another crew would come in later, but not while the tent was on, so they couldn't trace the burglaries directly to the fumigation company. But they stop any casing and subsequent burglaries in exchange for hush money and assistance with the meth business.
Spilly August 26, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Imma have to go with the fumigation comp.are in on the loot from the getgo... now that its been brought to the publics eyes..I'm.sure it gave other crooks the idea to do it also..but who knows... people should do what I did.... CAMP OUT IN THE BACK YARD IN A TENT... JUST LIKE U WERE CAMPING... THAT WAY KNOWONE WILL BE BREAKING IN ...
Paul August 27, 2012 at 04:13 PM
I am an owner of a termite company that subcontracts fumigations to a fumigation company. Many termite companies in Los Angeles do so. If a fumigation company had a number of breakins on their jobs, no reputable termite company would continue to use them. It is bad for business. My company, as the primary contractor, would be one of the first people called if there was a breakin. I would have to go out and talk to the owner, talk to the police department, file a police report. I pay my fumigator several hundred thousand dollars in business every year. If there were a pattern of breakins occurring on our (or any other termite company's) jobs, I would not use them (even if it were not an "inside" job). It would be bad for my business and bad for my company's reputation. I would find another fumigator to do my fumigations. Though breakins do occur, it does not happen as often as people think. An "inside job" can occur, but it just does not happen that often. There would be a pattern. Most of the time, it is a crime of opportunity done by outsiders. The best thing to combat this is to be aware, inform your neighbor's and ask them to keep an eye on the house. Call your local police department and ask for additional patrols. Camping out or being in an RV is also helpful. The vast majority of termite companies and fumigators are honest & hardworking people. The breakins may not even be their fault, and they do not deserve these accusations.


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