Police: Watch out for house 'casers'


The Elkhart County Sheriff's Department is investigating reports of suspicious activity throughout the county that sounds like house "casing," police said.

"Casing" is the act of surveying a house or neighborhood in search of an easy break-in. It works like this: burglars pull up to a house and knock on the door. If there's anyone home, they take off before anyone can read their plates, or they come up with an excuse.

The sheriff's department has been releasing alerts via its Facebook page. It has had at least two different reports with the same description since Tuesday: a group of two to four black men driving a white Dodge Durango SUV.

In the first report, four men took off as soon as they were seen by the homeowner in the 30000 block of County Road 8.

In the second instance, one of the men asked someone near County Road 33, south of U.S. 20, for directions to Elkhart. The same car was later seen pulling up to a different house, the report stated.

Police are also investigating a burglary that occurred on the 30000 block of County Road 2; they said it could have been the same group.

Mary Shearon lives in that area and said she'll be double-checking her locks.

"We're just more aware of it here. We do lock the house and windows and everything," Shearon said. "We do let the neighbors know when we're leaving and they keep an eye on the house, too."

She said she hadn't been keeping an eye on cars driving around her neighborhood before, but --"I guess we'll just be a little more careful," Shearon said.

However, Gary Maurer, who lives on the other side of the C.R. 2, said he and his neighbors aren't concerned.

"They're not really fearful," Maurer said. "You just go on with it, and if it happens, it does. If it doesn't, even better."

Anyone with information about this car or its drivers should contact the Elkhart County Sheriff's Department by calling (574) 533-4151.