Suspects on bicycles are cruising Summerville neighborhoods, kicking in back doors during the day and stealing guns, jewelry and other items from homes, according to Summerville police.
At least nine homes have been hit since March 9, including four homes Tuesday in The Bridges community, police said.
So far, they said, no one has been home when the burglaries occurred, but at least one victim worries what will happen if thieves come across someone who is home.
"It's just a matter of time until something bad happens," said Jon Rothemich, whose home in the Tea Farm neighborhood was burglarized in April. "No car in the driveway does not always mean someone's not home."
Witnesses have reported seeing two men riding bikes about the same time as the robberies, and officers have found bike trails leading to some of the houses, according to incident reports.
The suspects have made off with at least seven guns, including two of Rothemich's. He said the thieves bypassed several expensive items and took the guns.
"Guns that were safe are now on the street," Rothemich said.
In several of the burglaries, the thieves also ransacked drawers, stealing cash, jewelry and bank statements. In one case the suspects stole a child's gaming system from her room.
The first burglary happened March 9 in Tea Farm. Burglars hit the same neighborhood the following month, breaking into one house each on April 5, April 23 and April 30. In the April 23 burglary, in which they stole a pistol and a $2,000 watch, it appears the suspects used a pool net, a pole and other objects to fend off the homeowners' two golden retrievers, according to a report.
Rothemich said the thieves were brazen enough to lock his 80-pound dog in a kennel while they stole items out of his house.
One house was burglarized in the Arbor Oaks subdivision May 7.
The burglars then hit four houses on Ashton Cove in The Bridges community Tuesday.
It appears the suspects rode their bikes through the yards from one house to another, taking guns, a checkbook and an engagement ring, according to reports. All of the burglaries occurred between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
In just about all of the cases, the suspects kicked in the back door, sometimes leaving a footprint on it. In one case, a door was left unlocked.
Several victims said the burglaries were tough on their families and declined to talk, given that the suspects were still loose.
Rothemich said one positive that has come out of the ordeal is that it has brought his community closer together, not just with each other but also with officers who have increased patrols in the area.