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Residents taking steps after man arrested for breaking into homes, stealing identities

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — When thieves break into your home, your high-dollar electronics may not be what catches their eye. New Hanover County deputies just arrested a man accused of entering homes and stealing personal information to commit identity theft.

Landrick Seales, 20, is behind bars charged with breaking into several homes in the Gordon Woods neighborhood. Anthony Sadowski almost witnessed it.

“The neighbor close to me, next to where I live, I noticed her window was open,” Sadowski said.

In fact, a couple of his neighbors were broken into. So far, he’s been lucky.

“I wish I could sell my house in today’s economy and just say time to move on. I’ve been here long enough,” Sadowski said.

Break-ins happen. That’s nothing new. But what Seales is accused of stealing is out of the ordinary.

“His objective was to steal personal items, banking info, personal info, so he can set up accounts, gain credit in other people’s, the victims’ names. He also was able to purchase things online with their information,” Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Jerry Brewer said.

The target surprised residents.

“I didn’t know what they were stealing,” Alvaro Hernandez said. “You automatically think they’re going to get inside and get personal valuables from your house. You know, this is something to worry about.”

Residents are worried. That’s why many are being proactive. Some are doing what they can to protect themselves by adding a little something to their windows. If you look closely at the home, you’ll notice pieces of wood in some of the windows to keep someone outside opening them. Sadowski came up with the idea. Others pitched in to help.

“They came and asked me to help build some of these things for them, so I went to a couple of the neighbors, and I did it for them,” Hernandez said. “You can see a couple of the houses have the sticks in the windows so they don’t have a chance to get into the house.”

But if they do, they may have a tough time finding personal information. Some residents now plan to make sure that stuff is put away.

Seales is charged with seven crimes, including burglary, larceny and identity theft. He is in the New Hanover County Jail under a $50,000 bond.

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