North Idaho

Drug addiction fueling Kootenai County break-ins

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - As the news spreads about a disturbing spike in day time burglaries across Kootenai County, people on Friar Drive in Hayden are already helping friends who have become victims.

"It's definitely takes a hit that you can't trust everyone around you and guard your stuff," Hayden resident Mindy Newby said.

Chris Pleski was driving by when she noticed someone walking away from a neighbor's house towards a car she didn't know.

Kootenai County break-ins

"I was bothered because it's a nice neighborhood," Pleski said. "I looked at him but didn't pay much attention."

Later that day she found out thieves kicked in the door and snatched jewelry and guns.

"We are kind of isolated; we live far apart from each other. It's scary," she said.

Police are confident that the people breaking in are drug addicts looking to sell something for money to feed their addiction. There's a good chance the criminals are addicted to meth or heroin, something Rick Dixon knows a lot about as a clinical supervisor at drug treatment center Port of Hope.

"When people are under the influence of alcohol or drugs or something like that there is not much logic just desperation," he said.

"If those people are addicted to drugs, they are in a constant state of high. Sometimes higher than others."

Addicts stay that way because withdrawal is so painful and getting money to pay for drugs trumps all.

"People start getting very desperate and creates a lot of fear and start finding ways to get their drugs," Dixon said.

They find different ways to get cash and the kick-in the door burglaries seems to be their money making choice now. 

"I lock my stuff up now more for sure," Newby said.

As people try to lock out the thieves, police are suggesting neighbors get a neighborhood watch going and report anything suspicious.