After two houses in Underwood were victimized by daytime burglars in late May, citizens are spreading the warning so residents can take steps to protect their homes.
In an e-mail message to the Underwood Community Council and other community members, Underwood resident Ronda Crumpacker pointed out that the burglaries happened in the middle of the day.
"Both times, the people had been home and just stepped out, so they must be watching," Crumpacker wrote. "We need to get together and report any unusual people or vehicles, and catch them."
The Skamania County Sheriff's Office is investigating the recent Underwood burglaries.
"I am aware of the two cases that Ronda referred to," responded Skamania County Sheriff Dave Brown. "These were both daytime residential burglaries. We would certainly encourage residents to be more aware of who or what appears to be out of place, and to call 9-1-1 to report any suspicious activity."
Underwood resident Sue Davis said her family's house was victimized on May 19.
"While we were at the park on Monday between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., having ridden our bikes and brought our dog with us, someone walked into our house -- hard to say broke in when the doors were left unlocked -- and stole everything worth grabbing that was in sight," Davis explained.
According to Davis, she and her husband, Sam, lost a laptop computer, iPod, and two wallets.
"It can all be replaced, with the exception of our sense of privacy and security," she added.
In the same week, the Underwood home of Kelly and Suzi Cooper was burglarized. Two iPods were stolen, along with bottles of alcohol and keys.
Davis noted that a friend observed a maroon mini-van with wood paneling drive near her house at the time.
"It could be a coincidence, but if you see a car like that, you might write down the license plate and pass that info to Officer Rasmussen at the Skamania County Sheriff's Office -- 427-9490," she said.
Underwood Community Council member Tim Counihan said the issue would be placed on the agenda of an upcoming session of the Community Council. That meeting was scheduled for Thursday, June 19, at 7 p.m. in the Underwood Community Center.
Sheriff Brown said someone from his office would be at the meeting to discuss the incident with residents.
"We will make sure to be present to answer questions and provide information on how to better secure your homes and property," Brown said.
Crumpacker said the thieves tried to use the Davis' debit and credit cards right after the burglary.
"We need to come together and catch these people!" she said.
Longtime Underwood citizens said news of the thefts was disturbing.
"We have begun locking our home and vehicles up," said one resident, who lives on Cook-Underwood Road.
Davis said it was sad that rural areas that once seemed secure could no longer be regarded that way.
"I never thought we'd have to worry about this kind of thing here, but there it is," she said.