WEST MIAMI (CBS4)- A South Florida home was burglarized while it was covered with a termite tent, with the robbers wearing gas masks during the break in.

A homeowner’s security owner captured three men, possibly in their late teens or early 20s, cutting a hole in the tarpaulin at a Southwest Miami-Dade home at approximately 5 a.m. on August 19.

Police said the men were looking for electronic items and jewelry. West Miami Police Department released the tape exclusively to CBS4 after a recent increase in burglaries in Miami, Coral Gables and Southwest Miami-Dade.

Police also released a video of a burglary from March 11 showing a man with a crowbar wearing a bandana trying to enter another tented Miami home, CBS4’s Peter D’Oench reported.

Tented homes carry dire warnings about the poisons that are used in spraying for termites. West Miami Police captain Nelson Andreu said he finds the burglaries alarming.

“Our concerns are that we don’t know what the potential dangers are,” he said. “Obviously this is very serious chemicals that are put into these places to kill these termites, these bugs or whatever and these kids are going in with masks on that I don’t think affords them the right protection.”

Andreu added, “Think of the potential lethal effects this could have. They may feel fine right now but how can you tell what’s going to happen months down the road.”

The burglaries from the August 19th break in spent at least 90 minutes in the Miami home. They were there just before daylight and left with a flat screen TV. One of the men even took off his mask to use his cell phone, D’Oench reported.

Later that night, the men were seen at two Miami gas stations using debit visa cards which were taken from the home to fill up their cars, including a white Nissan Maxima.

There are precautions that homeowners who are using termite tents can take, including using security. To hire a security guard for a tented home, according to some companies CBS4 spoke with, may cost $20 to $30 an hour. That means it could cost a homeowner at least $500 over a 24-hour period.

Homeowners can also ask police to put a watch order on the home, which means they’ll drive by it more frequently.

Additionally, remove the items that are valuable, from jewelry to credit cards and flat screen televisions.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.


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