An unusual string of circumstances has local people worried about home invasions, and now these folks are banding together to defend their neighborhoods from a wave of what they think may be squatters sneaking into homes and onto property.
Hannah Robinson said she woke up Monday night to the sound of a man sneezing in her basement.
“We don’t have anyone sleeping in the basement, or down there at all, so that just alarmed me a lot,” said Robinson.
Her husband quickly ran downstairs to find nothing but the sliding door ajar.
“I just tried to tell myself, ‘It’s not a big deal. We’re fine.'” said Robinson.
The next night, as she rocked her youngest child to sleep she heard footsteps above her.
“So, then I just thought ‘Well, it’s one of the kids coming in. But they never came in. The next morning, when I was getting the kids ready for school, I noticed that the front door was open,” said Robinson.
She posted her worries on Facebook that day and that’s when responses came flooding in from neighbors and friends, who say they’ve had similar freaky experiences over the past few months.
Alan Beagley said he’s seen lights late at night in his neighbor’s field when everyone was in bed.
“We just thought it was some neighbor kids out having fun, but it got more frequent to the point that we didn’t feel that way anymore,” said Beagley.
Salemites came out for a meeting Monday night with the sheriff’s offices from Fremont and Madison counties to address their woes.
Some said they’ve noticed small things missing like gas from their vehicles; while others say pets have disappeared.
Sheriff Len Humphries, with Fremont County, urged them to look out for each other.
“I’m encouraging them to organize a neighborhood watch program. It would be organized and give people a forum to let us know when they have problems, specifically to call us,” said Humphries.
He said, in order to protect your home, it’s important to call 911 when you see anything suspicious and keep doors locked, especially at night on your home and on your car.
About 60 people showed up to the meeting in Salem on Monday night. Humphries said they’ve had 9 of these strange reports. but he thinks many people just aren’t calling police.
If you’re leaving on vacation anytime soon, Humphries said you can call in to your local law enforcement agency and they’ll gladly come out to patrol your home for you.