OCOEE, Fla. – Ocoee police are warning community members to be extra vigilant after an alleged "back-door burglar" has broken into multiple homes.
Police posted on Facebook Monday to warn the Wentworth and Prairie Lake Reserve communities about a couple of burglaries that recently occurred overnight.
The warning read, in part, "The burglar smashes rear sliding glass doors or windows to enter."
Officers said there have also been reports about a suspicious man walking behind homes.
Police have asked community members to pay more attention in the evening and to report all suspicious behavior.
"You know your neighborhood and who does not belong," the Facebook post read.
Ocoee police Deputy Chief Stephen McCosker said the department has noticed a trend in the north end of Ocoee, near Clark Road, adding that there have been seven cases reported since June 1.
"We are having some nighttime burglaries that are occurring between 7 p.m. and midnight where an individual is prying the back doors of mostly townhomes," McCosker said. "Sometimes, the glass is shattered. Sometimes, it's just pried."
Police said they don't know how many people are committing the crime, but since they have seen a trend, they believe it is the same person or group of people acting as the culprit.
Officers said they are also concerned about the burglaries because of the hours they have occurred.
"Generally speaking, people don't like confrontation. Burglars don't like confrontation, and when we have a nighttime burglar, that's generally when people are home," McCosker said. "So that's when we have a heightened concern -- when we know we have an offender that is actually put in a position where he can be confronted."
Tiyhannah Shunetich, who lives in the Prairie Lake subdivision, said she has taken steps to ensure her safety and peace of mind.
"But I think taking precautions and preparing yourself, making sure things are secure and you have systems in place -- then i know you can rest easy," Shunetich said. "There is so many things that can go on, so being extra paranoid and anxious about it doesn't seem to lend a helpful hand towards preventing it and enjoying your sleep."
Ocoee police are encouraging homeowners to draw their blinds to make sure their valuables are out of sight and to call police if they see anyone in their backyards.
The department said it has increased security in the area and will continue to alert the community through its social media accounts.