This week on the Writer's Detective Bureau, The Ripoff Episode. I'm Adam Richardson, and this is the Writer's Detective Bureau. Welcome to episode number 65 of the Writer's Detective Bureau, the podcast dedicated to helping authors and screenwriters write professional-quality crime-related fiction. Unfortunately this week, I am totally ripping you off by only answering one question, and it's about burglary. Real quick, I need to thank my gold shield patrons, Deborah Dunbar, C.C. Jamison, Larry Keeton, Vicki Tharp, Chrysann, Larry Darter, Natalie Barelli, and all of my coffee club patrons for their support month after month. To learn more about setting up your own Patreon account for your author business, visit writersdetective.com/patreon, P-A-T-R-E-O-N.
Welcome to The Ripoff Episode, sponsored by, not really, Stanley Steemer. Okay, I'm calling this The Ripoff Episode, not because of this week's only question is about burglary, but because I literally need to be on the road in half an hour, and my entire scheduled recording time today has my neighbor getting their carpets cleaned by Stanley Steemer. Now, they do a great and thorough job, which means they have been making noise for hours, and I'm trying to get this episode recorded while the steamer's pump is off right now, so let's get into it. This week's question comes from Stephanie Burnham. "Can you describe how the police handle a residence that's been burgled? In Baltimore, I saw a burglary detail visit the victim and they dusted for fingerprints, surveyed for footprints, and use Ziploc bags for dust and fiber particles. Is it the same in California, San Diego per se?"
Before I get into answering Stephanie's question, just real quick, burglary is the crime of intentionally entering a building to commit theft or any felony. In some states, they may refer to this as breaking and entering, but in California, and San Diego in particular, the crime is burglary, which is a very different crime from robbery, which is the taking of property from a person through force or fear. Just remember a house isn't robbed, it's burglarized.
All right, to answer your question, Stephanie burglaries are initially investigated by the patrol officers that respond to the initial call that the resident made to the police, and they will take a report as to what was taken. They will note especially the timeframe for when it could have possibly happened, and then they'll search for evidence just as you saw in Baltimore. And that could mean dusting for fingerprints or even canvassing the neighborhood to identify witnesses or find neighbors with surveillance cameras or Ring doorbells that may have caught footage of the suspects.
Most patrol cars will have a latent fingerprint kit for them to be able to dust for prints and a basic crime scene kit for collecting evidence, but if it's going to be an extended forensics search, they may call for CSI, and CSI could be the department's forensics team, forensic science team, or it could be somebody on the patrol squad that has a little bit more CSI training and has a more advanced CSI kit assigned to them. It could be one of those two things. Once the report is written, it may go to a detective for follow-up, or the case may be suspended if there aren't any further leads. And like I've said before on this podcast, it's not about the money, it's about the money... Continue reading...
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