Cable Company Subcontractor Targeted and Burglarized Homes

Posted by , , at 8:57 pm

There’s no doubt that peace of mind is getting harder to find, and increased crime is a big reason. It’s not just more burglaries – now we have to worry about things that didn’t use to be much of a problem. Here’s a partial list: burglars cutting phone lines (which takes out most traditional alarm systems), door knocking salesmen who use pressure, fraud, and deceit to market their wares, and even burglars in disguise, pretending to be alarm sales representatives.

What’s next? Today’s story comes from East Patchogue, New York, on Long Island’s south shore, and it makes me wonder once again about why someone would use a cable or phone company for alarm services – especially since utility providers aren’t known for excellent service, and rarely do the kind of employee back-ground checks alarm companies do. For that matter, more people are questioning the wisdom of letting any service providers in your home. It’s time for more do-it-yourself services, like FrontPoint’s easy-install advanced wireless home alarm system!

A man working as a subcontractor for Optimum Cable picked out homes to burglarize and he and three other men were arrested Friday morning and charged with a host of home burglaries in the county over the past few months, police said.

Fast Police Response Meant Catching the Burglars

The four men were arrested less than 10 minutes after they burglarized an occupied home in East Patchogue around 10:25 a.m., police said. Fifth Precinct detectives responded to a burglary in progress call on Haig Avenue and spotted Marvin Escobar walking out of the backyard and down the driveway of the residence, police said. Escobar fled, but the detectives caught up to him a short distance away, where he was found to be in possession of jewelry, police said.

More Good Police Work

As the detectives were walking to their vehicles they noticed a suspicious van in the area and broadcast a description of the 2000 gray Dodge Caravan with magnetic Optimum Cable logos attached to side doors, police said. Police pulled over the van in Medford and found the three people inside to be in possession of assorted jewelry.

How the Burglars Worked

One of them, Francisco Sanchez, a subcontractor for Optimum, picked the targeted homes and was assisted by the other men in executing the burglaries, police said. Sanchez, Robert Alcantara, and Jose Castro were arrested along with Escobar. Sanchez is also charged with grand larceny for stealing jewelry while he was working as a subcontractor for Optimum at a home on Irving Street in Terryville on July 14, 2011, police said. An investigation revealed that all four men are also responsible for the following burglaries, according to police:

  • Jan. 26, 2012 a home on Washington Avenue in Holtsville
  • Jan. 26, 2012 a home on Fenwick Avenue in Farmingville
  • Jan. 20, 2012 a home on Ohio Avenue in Medford
  • Dec. 9, 2011 a home on Boston Avenue in Bay Shore
  • Dec. 2, 2011 a home on Illinois Avenue in North Bay Shore
  • Sept. 7, 2011 a home on Illinois Avenue in North Bay Shore

Cable Company on the Hot Seat

In a statement released Saturday, Cablevision, which runs Optimum services, said it had suspended work with the subcontracting company, Nationwide, which employed Sanchez. “We are cooperating fully with the police and are immediately suspending work with the Nationwide subcontracting company, which provides a limited amount of work, only in Suffolk County, NY, pending a complete review and thorough investigation,” Cablevision said.

Ouch. This is certainly a poor reflection on Cablevision, and on cable companies in general, at a time when they are trying to find a foothold in the alarm industry. It’s no wonder that many alarm industry operators are watching the cable providers closely, but are not feeling too threatened – yet. It takes a lot to protect a home and family, and I heartily agree that the task is best left to the experts.

We’ll keep an eye on the competitive landscape for you, and post the particulars when we see something of interest. As our customers know, FrontPoint was the first alarm company to standardize on cellular and interactive monitoring. We’re the leader in wireless home security, and the #1 ranked alarm company in the US – and we earned that spot with technology, pricing, and customer satisfaction that leaves the others far behind. That’s why smart shoppers choose FrontPoint: safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. Just read the reviews, and you’ll want a FrontPoint system too. It’s safer because it’s cellular – and it’s monitored 24/7.

Comments (10)

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  1. Alan

    Another instance of penny wise and pound foolish in my book.

  2. Alan

    Another instance of penny wise and pound foolish in my book.

  3. Alan

    This doesn’t surprise me. Let’s just say I’ve usually been plenty UNDERWHELMED when Comcast has sent a contractor to my residences for an install or something. I’ve never understood why they would try to save a tiny bit of scratch by using third party contractors. Reputation and customer service is worth so much more, if I were them. Their regular techs are usually MUCH better, so why not just always use them.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Alan – I have never had Comcast, but your comment is pretty consistent with what I have heard from their customers. Cable companies occupy some prime real estate on the list of the Top 10 Most Hated US Companies – a subject for a future blog post. Hard to believe they believe they can build a big home alarm business without the trust, but that is their choice to try.

      • Debashis

        It relaly doesn’t matter if you leave the radio or television on. My television was on and on full blast when my house was broken into (before getting the alarm system). I am home during the day, and I see criminals strolling through the block. They have identified which car belongs to whom. If there are no parked cars on the block, its an indication that no one is home. Even though we now have signs indicating we have alarm systems, that doesn’t seem to slow them down. I have had two criminals approach my door pretending to be contractors. So, if you don’t have a garage to hide the car, what other tips can you provide other than motion lights and trimmed trees?

        • Peter M. Rogers

          Debashis – thanks for your comment. Sorry to hear about the current status of your neighborhood. You may want to consider a camera (especially one connected to your alarm system, like the one FrontPoint sells) that is triggered by motion to record. That way you could provide images to police, even of the “innocent” people coming to your door. The best deterrent is to have police patrolling the neighborhood, which you and your neighbors should request, especially during the day. Burglars do not like that. You may also want to encourage the people on your street to get alarm systems, and also to form a neighborhood watch so you can keep an eye on each others’ homes, and notify the police any time there is suspicious activity – even the folks pretending to be workmen. You might also refer to my recent blog on ruse burglaries – trending up, sadly. Thanks again, and good luck.

  4. Alan

    This doesn’t surprise me. Let’s just say I’ve usually been plenty UNDERWHELMED when Comcast has sent a contractor to my residences for an install or something. I’ve never understood why they would try to save a tiny bit of scratch by using third party contractors. Reputation and customer service is worth so much more, if I were them. Their regular techs are usually MUCH better, so why not just always use them.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Alan – I have never had Comcast, but your comment is pretty consistent with what I have heard from their customers. Cable companies occupy some prime real estate on the list of the Top 10 Most Hated US Companies – a subject for a future blog post. Hard to believe they believe they can build a big home alarm business without the trust, but that is their choice to try.

      • Debashis

        It relaly doesn’t matter if you leave the radio or television on. My television was on and on full blast when my house was broken into (before getting the alarm system). I am home during the day, and I see criminals strolling through the block. They have identified which car belongs to whom. If there are no parked cars on the block, its an indication that no one is home. Even though we now have signs indicating we have alarm systems, that doesn’t seem to slow them down. I have had two criminals approach my door pretending to be contractors. So, if you don’t have a garage to hide the car, what other tips can you provide other than motion lights and trimmed trees?

        • Peter M. Rogers

          Debashis – thanks for your comment. Sorry to hear about the current status of your neighborhood. You may want to consider a camera (especially one connected to your alarm system, like the one FrontPoint sells) that is triggered by motion to record. That way you could provide images to police, even of the “innocent” people coming to your door. The best deterrent is to have police patrolling the neighborhood, which you and your neighbors should request, especially during the day. Burglars do not like that. You may also want to encourage the people on your street to get alarm systems, and also to form a neighborhood watch so you can keep an eye on each others’ homes, and notify the police any time there is suspicious activity – even the folks pretending to be workmen. You might also refer to my recent blog on ruse burglaries – trending up, sadly. Thanks again, and good luck.