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dirtsider
10-17-2011, 12:01 AM
I'm looking for help on a couple of burglaries I have in mind for my WIP and what the police precedure would be in either case. I have a couple of crime scene investigation books but they both seem to focus on the investigation of murders, not burglaries.

Scenario #1: The first is actually a burglary and assault case. One of my MC's returns home and stumbles upon the burglar in his house. Said burglar rushes the MC, knocks him down and basically flees the scene. Nothing is taken (at this point), although it seems the burglar was targeting the MC's library. The library has some pretty valuable books, particularly for someone who knows/practices/is interested in the occult. The MC was knocked around pretty badly.

Ok, I know the basics are:
*Secure the scene
*Question the witness for a description
*Question neighbors for information, i.e. checking for any strange people lingering in area, a description if they got a chance to see the burglar, etc.
*Check for finger/footprints (no fingerprints - the burglar was wearing gloves)
*Check what, if anything, is missing (nothing is)
*Check for point of entry (POE is the front door - the lock was picked, not busted open)

Question:
*What other kind of evidence would the burglar leave behind? He pretty much went straight into the library and used pavement prior to entry. (The MC lives in a townhouse with a parking lot and sidewalks.)
*Is there anything else that the police might do/be looking for to help them investigate the crime?
*Would the MC be held overnight for observation? He was knocked to the floor in the burglar's rush to get out of the house. He has a bad knee, which I'm not sure I'm going to mess with further, but I'm also debating whether or not he has a concussion.
*How would the charge of assault (for knocking the MC over) change the tenor of the investigation?

Scenario #2: MC#3 is checking on MC#2's apartment because MC#2 is helping MC#1 clean up his townhouse after it got burglarized. (This scenario takes place a few days after scenario #1 obviously.) MC#3 is getting ready to leave the apartment and has put a bag of garbage in front of the door. Because this, she is in the front room/foyer area and the sound of the garbage bag moving is what tips her off that something's wrong. She knows it's not MC#2 because he's the one who sent her over there in the first place. (I might change it to a small overnight bag of clothes because MC#2 is staying with MC#1.) She looks over to the door in time to see a gloved hand come around the door. She rushes the door and slams it shut. Right now, I have it where she jams the door on the burglar's hand but that can be changed. He might be able to pull his hand out in time before the door is slammed shut. The burglar flees. MC#3 hears the footsteps retreating because she is leaning against the door. Not sure if the burglar will try to force the door or not, simply chosing to flee. Right now, I have him slam against the door at least once because she slams the door on his fingers and he's lashing out in pain.

ETA: First, the MC had stepped away from the door for a few seconds, which is why she isn't at the door when the burglar tries to enter. And, second, she put the garbage by the front door because it was beginning to go rancid as MC#2 hadn't been home in a couple of days. Third, she calls MC#2 to see if there was anyone else scheduled to come over as well (there isn't) so she knows the burglar isn't someone who should be over there. This is also the reason why MC#2 shows up about the time the police do, not sure if he arrives before or after the police.

Question: (the basic assumptions listed earlier still apply.)
*Since the burglar never made it into the house, would the police even bother entering the house? Or would they still search the house as part of the investigation? (At least the inside.)
*Would the police allow MC#2 to approach the scene if he arrives after they secure the crime scene?
*What kind of questions would they be asking him since he wasn't there when the attempted burglary was done? (Other than questions about whether or not MC#3 was supposed to be in the house at the time? She was and MC#2 confirms this.)
*Since the burglar didn't make it into the house, is the investigation of the crime scene different from the above scenario or would they be treated the same?
*Would the police charge MC#3 with assault if she slammed the door on the burglar's fingers? (I'm sure if I do have his fingers smashed, the police would alert the local hospitals and clinics to be on the lookout. But I'm not sure if I want him injured at this time. I just want the MC to be able to say he was wearing gloves.)

Sorry for the ramble. The little research I've done so far has provided the basics and I'll continue to do more. It's just that my two Crime Scene Investigation books seem to be leaning more for murders, rather than burglaries.

Siri Kirpal
10-17-2011, 02:02 AM
I'm looking for help on a couple of burglaries I have in mind for my WIP and what the police precedure would be in either case. I have a couple of crime scene investigation books but they both seem to focus on the investigation of murders, not burglaries.

Scenario #1: The first is actually a burglary and assault case. One of my MC's returns home and stumbles upon the burglar in his house. Said burglar rushes the MC, knocks him down and basically flees the scene. Nothing is taken (at this point), although it seems the burglar was targeting the MC's library. The library has some pretty valuable books, particularly for someone who knows/practices/is interested in the occult. The MC was knocked around pretty badly.

Ok, I know the basics are:
*Secure the scene
*Question the witness for a description
*Question neighbors for information, i.e. checking for any strange people lingering in area, a description if they got a chance to see the burglar, etc.
*Check for finger/footprints (no fingerprints - the burglar was wearing gloves)
*Check what, if anything, is missing (nothing is)
*Check for point of entry (POE is the front door - the lock was picked, not busted open)

Question:
*What other kind of evidence would the burglar leave behind? He pretty much went straight into the library and used pavement prior to entry. (The MC lives in a townhouse with a parking lot and sidewalks.)
*Is there anything else that the police might do/be looking for to help them investigate the crime?
*Would the MC be held overnight for observation? He was knocked to the floor in the burglar's rush to get out of the house. He has a bad knee, which I'm not sure I'm going to mess with further, but I'm also debating whether or not he has a concussion.
*How would the charge of assault (for knocking the MC over) change the tenor of the investigation?

Scenario #2: MC#3 is checking on MC#2's apartment because MC#2 is helping MC#1 clean up his townhouse after it got burglarized. (This scenario takes place a few days after scenario #1 obviously.) MC#3 is getting ready to leave the apartment and has put a bag of garbage in front of the door. Because this, she is in the front room/foyer area and the sound of the garbage bag moving is what tips her off that something's wrong. She knows it's not MC#2 because he's the one who sent her over there in the first place. (I might change it to a small overnight bag of clothes because MC#2 is staying with MC#1.) She looks over to the door in time to see a gloved hand come around the door. She rushes the door and slams it shut. Right now, I have it where she jams the door on the burglar's hand but that can be changed. He might be able to pull his hand out in time before the door is slammed shut. The burglar flees. MC#3 hears the footsteps retreating because she is leaning against the door. Not sure if the burglar will try to force the door or not, simply chosing to flee. Right now, I have him slam against the door at least once because she slams the door on his fingers and he's lashing out in pain.

ETA: First, the MC had stepped away from the door for a few seconds, which is why she isn't at the door when the burglar tries to enter. And, second, she put the garbage by the front door because it was beginning to go rancid as MC#2 hadn't been home in a couple of days. Third, she calls MC#2 to see if there was anyone else scheduled to come over as well (there isn't) so she knows the burglar isn't someone who should be over there. This is also the reason why MC#2 shows up about the time the police do, not sure if he arrives before or after the police.

Question: (the basic assumptions listed earlier still apply.)
*Since the burglar never made it into the house, would the police even bother entering the house? Or would they still search the house as part of the investigation? (At least the inside.)
*Would the police allow MC#2 to approach the scene if he arrives after they secure the crime scene?
*What kind of questions would they be asking him since he wasn't there when the attempted burglary was done? (Other than questions about whether or not MC#3 was supposed to be in the house at the time? She was and MC#2 confirms this.)
*Since the burglar didn't make it into the house, is the investigation of the crime scene different from the above scenario or would they be treated the same?
*Would the police charge MC#3 with assault if she slammed the door on the burglar's fingers? (I'm sure if I do have his fingers smashed, the police would alert the local hospitals and clinics to be on the lookout. But I'm not sure if I want him injured at this time. I just want the MC to be able to say he was wearing gloves.)

Sorry for the ramble. The little research I've done so far has provided the basics and I'll continue to do more. It's just that my two Crime Scene Investigation books seem to be leaning more for murders, rather than burglaries.

Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

My family went through an armed robbery in 1975 in CA. I can tell you for sure that if the MC is conscious, he/she would not stay overnight in the hospital unless something was still clearly wrong. (My Mom and brother needed stitches because they had scalp wounds where they were pistol-whipped, but they were sent home after having those stitches.) A concussion would be different.

Assault and battery would change the charges against the suspects and amp up the police response time (usually). Police often attend to other calls they may have before a burglary, but with an assault, they'd be there much faster, assuming they had the manpower.

They'd secure the scene, question the witness, take victims to hospital, then do all the rest of it. Taking care of the victim comes first.

With the second scenario, the police might not even respond at all. The burglar hasn't entered, hasn't taken anything. The witness hasn't seen enough to identify anyone. Unless that finger smash happens. BUT, if the same police are working on this case as on the first one, they will want to investigate. How they'd handle it would depend on whether the intended victims would press charges.

Would the police charge the MC with assault under the circumstances? Probably not, unless the burglar pressed charges, and I assume your burglar wants to avoid the police limelight.

Hope that gives you something to go on.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Ferret
10-17-2011, 02:51 AM
My apartment was broken into a few weeks ago. While I was home. So not fun. No one was hurt, and some things were stolen, so it's not exactly like your first scenario, but it might be similar enough to help.

The police asked me for a description, which I couldn't really give because it had been dark and he hadn't been facing me. I described the basic body type and the shirt, but that was it.

They checked out the door he'd broken in through. They dusted for fingerprints. They had a K9 unit, but the dog lost the trail pretty quickly. They questioned the neighbors, none of whom had seen anything. They patrolled the area looking for anyone who fit my vague description, found someone, and drove me over in the police car to see if I could ID him. (I couldn't with any certainty.) They had me write a statement.

dirtsider
10-17-2011, 06:41 AM
Thanks for responding. It gives me some ideas to think about. Ok, if the MC#1 is released the same night, would he be allowed back in his house that same night? Not sure how long it would still be considered a crime scene by the time he's released. It's not like he doesn't have some place to go for the night. On the other hand, it would be a good reason why MC#2's apartment was later targeted, if the burglar found out the connection between the two. (There would be reasons why the burglar's interested in both these MC's, particularly MC#2.)

Ferret
10-17-2011, 06:18 PM
I think he would be allowed back, but maybe someone with more experience with assault scenes can give a more definite answer. But if you want him to go to his friend's, you can say that he felt nervous going back to his own house. Or that his friend insisted he stay with him.

Siri Kirpal
10-17-2011, 10:02 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

My Mom and brother returned home after their robbery and assault. The police don't secure the scene for long times unless it's murder or something REALLY complex.

For the record, we showed up at my parent's house the day after, and my Mom was mopping up the blood on the carpet and there were still black smudges from the fingerprinting on the woodwork. The police don't clean those things up.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Summonere
10-18-2011, 11:26 PM
My meager experience with burglary doesn't quite jibe with your Scenario #1.

*Secure the scene

Police didn't do this. I walked through the scene. They walked through it. My cousin walked through it. Later, my brother walked through it.

*Question the witness for a description

Yes, police did this.

*Question neighbors for information, i.e. checking for any strange people lingering in area, a description if they got a chance to see the burglar, etc.

Police were already doing that prior to burglar's arrival, as several had reported him snooping about the neighborhood and called to report it.

*Check for finger/footprints (no fingerprints - the burglar was wearing gloves)

I don't recall seeing police do either.

*Check what, if anything, is missing (nothing is)

Police asked me if anything was missing. I said no. That was all.

*Check for point of entry (POE is the front door - the lock was picked, not busted open)

Police asked about this, and since I'd been in the back yard at the time, I told them that although I had not seen the fellow enter the home, he must have come in through the front door, which was unlocked.

Question:*
*What other kind of evidence would the burglar leave behind? He pretty much went straight into the library and used pavement prior to entry. (The MC lives in a townhouse with a parking lot and sidewalks.)

The burglar in my case left behind blood and himself. Another burglar might leave behind footprints, tire tracks, cigarette butts, candy wrappers, fingerprints, his wallet, you name it. Depends on how bungling your burglar is. Heck, some local kidnappers around here dropped a Pep Boys receipt in the front yard of the home from which they'd kidnapped a woman, and local police managed to track them down very quickly simply from that.

*Is there anything else that the police might do/be looking for to help them investigate the crime?

Police took pictures of blood, furniture in disarray, but it was a pretty simple matter to figure out who did it. They caught him in the back yard.

In my brother's burglary, police already had a suspect in mind because the kid had been widely reported over the years by other neighbors who had suffered his villainy. Oh, and he lived in the area.

*Would the MC be held overnight for observation? He was knocked to the floor in the burglar's rush to get out of the house. He has a bad knee, which I'm not sure I'm going to mess with further, but I'm also debating whether or not he has a concussion.

I wasn't. Police looked me over to see if the blood on me was mine or not. Since I had no visible wounds, they determined it wasn't mine. They also asked if I was injured. I said no.

What they did spend some time considering was whether or not I should accompany them to the police station to make a report, but they instead had me fill one out at home.

*How would the charge of assault (for knocking the MC over) change the tenor of the investigation?

Probably not at all. Police don't seem to get too excited if someone's not bleeding or in imminent peril (this is based upon my brother's experience with a burglary, and that of a co-worker).

In my case, police were already looking for the guy because he'd been reported skulking about the neighborhood. My cousin screaming into the phone to the 911 operator about the burglar fighting with me may have prompted police to move more quickly to the scene, but they were still minutes away and, when they arrived, the interesting action was over.

Where the assault came in of minor value was during the prosecution, and then it only amounted to something like this: “Did he attack you?” When I said, “Yes,” and then explained what had happened, it became a minor footnote to this: “What did he take and how did he get it?”

Question: (the basic assumptions listed earlier still apply.)
*Since the burglar never made it into the house, would the police even bother entering the house? Or would they still search the house as part of the investigation? (At least the inside.)

Probably not, but I could certainly be wrong.

*Would the police allow MC#2 to approach the scene if he arrives after they secure the crime scene?

Probably. I suppose there's a chance they might keep someone away from areas where they imagine they may find a footprint, but for what you're describing, I'm skeptical. I'm also skeptical that they'd do much, if anything, to secure a non-crime scene/bareley-a-crime-scene, such as you describe. Once again, I could certainly be wrong.

*What kind of questions would they be asking him since he wasn't there when the attempted burglary was done? (Other than questions about whether or not MC#3 was supposed to be in the house at the time? She was and MC#2 confirms this.)

Who do you think may have done this? Has this ever happened before? (And if this ever happens again, don't hesitate to call.)

*Would the police charge MC#3 with assault if she slammed the door on the burglar's fingers? (I'm sure if I do have his fingers smashed, the police would alert the local hospitals and clinics to be on the lookout. But I'm not sure if I want him injured at this time. I just want the MC to be able to say he was wearing gloves.)

I can't imagine that they'd do so. After all, who did the MC#3 assault? Someone who's not there, not likely to complain, and who may be discovered to be in the wrong if they do complain.

* ...if the MC#1 is released the same night, would he be allowed back in his house that same night? Not sure how long it would still be considered a crime scene by the time he's released.

Yep, he'd be allowed back in the house. Getting knocked down by a burglar running out of a house doesn't turn that house into a crime scene equivalent to a murder scene. In my case, I never left the house, and after the police left, I showered the blood off myself, cleaned it up inside the house, then hosed it off the back porch.

In my brother's case, in which the burglar entered the home at night, stole some things, then left, there was never any question about the home being in some fashion restricted as a crime scene. They simply made sure their doors were locked and alarms armed when next they went to sleep.

As far as I can tell (which may not be far), burglary is treated as relatively minor unless the items stolen are of significant value. And since it appears that your villain steals nothing, no burglary has taken place.

rugcat
10-18-2011, 11:55 PM
As an ex-cop who has investigated many a burglary, I can tell you that Summonere's assessment is right on the money.

dirtsider
10-19-2011, 01:30 AM
Thanks, folks. It's a good thing I asked because I did Google 'burglary' and that's where I got the list I used as "basic assumptions". lol

On one hand, MC's #1 and #2 are glad that nothing got taken because they don't have to explain exactly ~what~ was taken. On the other, all three MC's are worried because they think it has something to do with the situation they're looking into. Again, it's not something they really want to explain to the police. The situation deals with magic which is currently 'underground' (i.e. considered to be stuff of fairy tales, etc.) and they're not sure if the police would even begin to believe them.