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Southlake DPS seeing uptick in pool cleaner thefts

The department says officers have responded to at least eight thefts since May 2022.

SOUTHLAKE, Texas — Editor's Note: This story has been updated with a recent arrest made by the Southlake Department of Public Safety.

Lock your gates. Turn on your cameras.

Southlake Department of Public Safety (DPS) is warning pool owners of a growing crime in the area – pool cleaner thefts.

The department says Southlake police officers have responded to at least eight thefts since May 2022. These devices cost anywhere from $700 to $2,000 each.

On Wednesday, Southlake DPS announced one of the department's officers made a traffic stop and arrested Kemp Clopton for multiple warrants at 3:30 a.m. Clopton had five pool cleaners in his car at the time.

DPS is hoping residents take the following steps to prevent their cleaners from being stolen:

  • Consider taking them out of the pool each night, out of the backyard and lock up out of sight.
  • Get lights for your backyard area
  • Notify neighbors to be aware if you’re out of town
  • Consider adding a surveillance camera to help catch the thieves

“We’re constantly on neighborhood checks but we need your help to keep your gates, house, and pool cleaners secure. We have to deep end on each other to prevent theft,” the department said in a Facebook post. 

THEFT ALERT! You may be asking what Corporal Thomas is Simba-ing over here, and if you’re not a pool owner, you may not...

Posted by Southlake DPS on Thursday, August 25, 2022

And this rise in pooler cleaning devices being stolen goes beyond just Southlake, according to police officer Brad Uptmore. He is the Southlake Police and Fire Public Information Officer. 

"We have noticed kind of through other department social pages that this was kind of a little trend going on," Uptmore said.

Uptmore and his team recommend owners of pool cleaners or homeowners with anything that has value in their backyards put up some sort of safety or resistance because many of these criminals are looking for the house with the least amount of security. 

"Any guard that you can put up or any hurdle in the commission of their theft always helps," Uptmore said.

Credit: Jay Wallis
Jeanie Wood first makes sure the power is off on her pool cleaner before pulling it out of the water.

Jeannie Wood is a homeowner who has been taking these steps. Wood, who lives just west of Southlake and owns a pool, has a lock on her gate and lights in her backyard. She said her pool is her "nest" where she can go to relax.

"I'm a beach girl, so a little water in the backyard helps me since we're so inland," Wood said. "Just looking at it every morning when you get up. You walk outside. You enjoy your yard. You have a little resort in your backyard. You get to stay home and just enjoy. Swimming is kind of a bonus on top of that."

She also has a Polaris pool cleaner for her pool that she calls "Wall-E."

"The pool cleaner is everything," Wood said. "You can enjoy your pool instead of laboring over it all the time."

Uptmore also said it's important to let the public know when these types of crimes are happening so everyone, including police officers, can be on alert.

"We have to put these things out there because it's a symbiotic relationship between the police and the public," Uptmore said. "We don't want anything bad happening to you. We don't want your stuff taken. And we're doing the best we can, but we need your help, too."

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