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DALLAS It's an upscale North Dallas neighborhood. And apparently it's good prey for thieves.

Ryan Kelly already had an alarm system, but wanted to add one more layer of security. For his birthday in mid-July, his wife got him a Dropcam, a small video camera that he can view from his iPhone or iPad.

He knew there had been break-ins nearby, all following the same pattern: The suspect rings a doorbell, and if no one is home, he moves to the back and breaks in.

So Kelly pointed his Dropcam at the glass doors looking out over his backyard.

He was at a meeting with clients in Denver on July 31 when he got a text that the camera sensed motion. He turned on his iPad and saw the suspect try multiple times to break in his back door. Finally, the would-be intruder got the door to open, but the alarm immediately sounded, and the suspect ran.

'I'm sitting with my clients dumbfounded this is happening. The alarm company called, dispatched police, and police came,' Kelly said. 'It was very timely, about two-and-a-half weeks after I got it. My uncle was joking it was like the most-used present I've ever had.'

The video recording helped police uncover a pattern. They think this suspect has hit at least five other houses.

And he may not be acting alone.

Victim Joan Muser was hit on the July 4 weekend. She said her neighbor saw two men pulling out of her driveway in an unfamiliar vehicle. And several other neighbors may have seen the same pair.

'They just don't seem to be bothered by eight foot fences,' Muser said. 'They don't seem to be bothered by anything not even people out in their yards.'

The break-ins have happened in the middle of the afternoon, some even on Saturday or Sunday afternoons.

'On Saturday, this same exact guy approached one of the neighbors on a street just to the north of us, soliciting yard work,' Kelly said. 'He declined, and two hours later, his neighbor was broken into.'

Kelly used images from the video to make fliers, and he posted them on utility poles up and down several streets. Many neighbors are using a website called Nextdoor to alert one other to the break-ins.

'The bright side of this whole thing is, we've all gotten acquainted,' Muser said.

The thieves stole electronics from her home. She has repaired the damage to her home, as has Kelly. Nothing was stolen from his residence, but fixing the back door cost more than $900.

As of Wednesday night, Dallas police had not identified the suspect, but investigators said they are working good leads.

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com


RAW VIDEO: Attempted break-in at Ryan Kelly's home


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