Burglar reveals shocking ways he targeted homes - WKRN News 2

Burglar reveals shocking ways he targeted homes

Posted: Updated: May 22, 2013 10:04 PM
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

Metro police are seeing a higher number of home burglaries this year.

Statistics show that residential burglaries in the Nashville-Metro area are up about five percent for the first four months of this year compared with 2012.

According to police, from January to April of this year, burglaries were up by 78 cases. The biggest increase is in south Nashville where there are nearly 150 apartment complexes.

A police spokesperson said they have been meeting with apartment complexes to increase awareness and also inform them about neighborhood watch programs and increased lighting.

In an effort to help protect viewers against home burglaries, Nashville's News 2 recently sat down with Jerry Phifer, a convicted burglar in prison, who shared how he chose his homes, how he got inside and how he got away with it for months.

Phifer is currently serving a 48 year prison sentence at the Riverbend Maximum Security Prison in Nashville.

He's been convicted several times for burglary and he's due in court next month for another 38 cases.

Metro police believe he burglarized 52 homes during an eight to 10 month crime spree in 2011.

Police found about $30,000 worth of stolen valuables inside his home when they arrested him.

Phifer told Nashville's News 2 he started breaking into homes to support a $500 a day drug habit.

He said he would only stick with middle to upper-middle class neighborhoods so he would get away with expensive jewelry, televisions and game systems, but also blend in.

"I got a hat on. I'm dressed nice. I don't look like [a] criminal," Phifer said.

He said he grew up in Nashville so he knew where to go. He targeted neighborhoods in Brentwood, Nippers Corner, Percy Priest Lake and Antioch.

"I just didn't pick a random house. I would make sure the neighborhood was right," Phifer explained. "I tried to be as smart as I could, if there's a being smart way to do it."

Phifer said he would always burglarize homes while homeowners were at work.

He would look for a home with no cars in the driveway. He said newspapers piling up, or a UPS notification on the door, were both dead giveaways that no one was home.

He also said he'd pick a home with a privacy fence in the backyard to hide while he'd break into a door or window.

Phifer said it only took him a few seconds to get inside by using a small piece from a car part to throw against the glass. It would barely make any noise.

He said the glass would shatter like a spider web, and then he would just break away a small hole to reach for the lock.

He even used a stormy day to his advantage.

"That's the best time, because if you do make some noise, they're not going to hear you," Phifer said.

Phifer said a security sign and vicious dogs would make him skip over a home.

"If you have an alarm and a big dog barking, I don't want [any] part of it," Phifer said.

Phifer said he's not guilty on some of the charges, and is currently appealing them.

He also said a GPS was put on his car without a warrant. His attorney has requested a new trial and a judge will decide next month.

One of Phifer's alleged victims, Diane Cunningham, emailed Nashville's News 2 after the story aired.

She said he broke into her condo in 2011 and stole many items including her TV, cash and all of her jewelry.

"Many times I think of a special piece of jewelry, especially ones given to me by someone special and I have to remember I was a victim of a crime. I only hope that our legal system will keep Jerry Phifer behind bars for the full length of time he is to serve and not be released on probation, again," Cunnignham wrote.

Phifer was sentenced to prison until 2058. He's eligible for patrol in 2038.

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