Crooks find new way into NJ shore homes

April 23, 2012 2:47:50 PM PDT
The Kembly family of Marlton, New Jersey has always felt safe in their townhouse two blocks from the beach.

But, after they were robbed recently, they want to warn others about a way for thieves to break in to your home that you might never have imagined.

It happened while the family, with a home on East Andrews Avenue in Wildwood, was out of the country. Thieves broke in not through a door or window, but through the flood vents built into the foundation of the building.

"I never would have believed somebody could have fit through an opening that size," said Ron Kembly.

"This is a weak point we didn't know anything about," Kembly continued.

Once inside, thieves stole five flat screen TVs, iPods, cameras and other electronics. The Kemblys are still counting up their losses.

"It looks like they went through everything, all the drawers," said Gabrielle Kembly. "They really wanted to look for expensive things."

The Kembly's home is one of 20 or more that have been hit in Wildwood in the last week or so in which thieves used the flood vents to get in.

It's no easy feat since the vents measure just 12 by 18 inches.

"Every house has it. Every shore point, not just Wildwood, but Ocean City, Avalon, Cape May has it. It's a building code requirement for the water to drain through, but they've got to have some kind of barrier," said Rob Kembly. He showed us how a neighbor reinforced the vents at her house after the robberies began.

Wildwood police are investigating the robberies but declined to comment.