A 74-year-old Lawrence woman awoke early Wednesday morning to a man standing in her bedroom holding a light.
“She sat up and asked what he was doing, and the suspect ran out of the room and out of the residence,” said Kim Murphree, a Lawrence police spokeswoman.
Officers were still trying to determine whether the suspect took any property in the aggravated burglary before 4 a.m. in the 1300 block of Raintree Place, just east of the intersection of University Drive and Iowa Street.
The crime is similar to incidents reported in recent months in which sleeping residents awoke to find someone in their homes, and police on Wednesday said the latest incident was a reminder to be vigilant about home security.
“The victims, they feel very violated when somebody enters their home,” said Rob Neff, a Lawrence police neighborhood resource officer. “It’s a very personal crime. We take that one very seriously.”
Murphree said the suspect in the Wednesday incident was described as a white man with a small build wearing a black, hooded sweatshirt. The suspect’s description doesn’t appear to match with reports of similar burglaries reported in May and June in southwest Lawrence.
Police on June 9 did arrest a 32-year-old Lawrence man, William D. Washington III, after he allegedly tried to enter someone’s home while they were investigating an aggravated burglary at a nearby house minutes earlier in the 3400 block of Augusta Drive.
Prosecutors later charged Washington with one count of aggravated burglary, attempted aggravated burglary, burglary, obstruction and two misdemeanor counts of theft. He is free on $15,000 bond, and his next court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday. Police at the time of his arrest said they were investigating whether he could be linked to a handful of similar burglaries reported before then, mostly in southwest Lawrence.
Neff said Wednesday’s burglary was a reminder to secure doors and windows, including placing a broomstick in the track of a glass-sliding door to keep it from being pulled open from the outside.
“I do it every night,” Neff said. “Just make it a routine that you go through and check every door and window before you go to bed.”
In addition he suggested:
• Make sure your garage door is closed every night and don’t leave garage door openers in vehicles parked outside.
• Install motion lights, including at the back of your house or a home-security system.
• Use dead bolts and window locks.
• Report any suspicious activity to police by calling 911 and also keep an eye on activity in your neighborhood.