Friday, 24 May 2024

Keys residents on lookout for break-in suspects

CLEARLAKE KEYS – Break-ins that took place earlier this month caused thousands of dollars of damage and have members of the Clearlake Keys community keeping an eye out for the possible suspects.


About three weeks ago, two break-in occurred about a week apart at the Keys Club's storage lot, said Tom Piazza, the club's vice president.


As part of Piazza's duties, he oversees the storage lot, where area residents rent spaces to store boats, fifth-wheel travel trailers and other vehicles.


The suspects broke windows and doors on fifth wheels and set off fire extinguishers in the trailers, ruining the interiors – including appliances, electronics and carpeting, said Piazza.


In all, Piazza estimated as many as 14 trailers were broken into, with some suffering as much as $4,000 of damage.


Bob Summerrill, co-chair of the area's Neighborhood Watch, said a flier was circulated in the community about the break-ins. That flier estimated $38,000 in damage had been done to a total of 15 vehicles.


The Keys Club hosted a community meeting to address the issue last Tuesday, said Piazza. Sgt. Chris Chwialkowski of the Lake County Sheriff's Office – who also oversees the Clearlake Oaks Community Recovery Task Force – and Supervisor Denise Rushing were in attendance to discuss the matter.


Calls to Chwialkowski seeking comment on the situation were not returned.


Summerrill said there also is an effort to put together a reward – with suggested amounts now ranging between $500 and $1,000 – seeking information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects.


“We're trying to get this thing squashed quickly,” said Summerrill.


Keys Club President Ron Walker added, “It's a pretty bad situation right now.”


Walker said the Keys Club is now working with a security firm to expand protections for the storage area. They're also asking the sheriff's office for more frequent patrols.


Piazza said the club has received a bid for a new security system. “Hopefully within a month it will be installed.”


He added, “There have been break-ins in the past, but nothing this bad.”


Anyone with information is being asked to call the sheriff's office at 262-4200.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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