Atwater man accused in several bold, day-time burglaries

October 11, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
An Atwater man is in jail accused of several bold, day-time burglaries. Police believe Zeckaria Nedwicke, 20, stole from at least ten homes, and may have also robbed an 81-year-old woman.

Sylvia and ben Schmidt lost several valuable items and their peace of mind after a burglary at their home.

"I wake up every morning, and I can't go back to sleep because I know someone was in my house, taking my valuables, and it just upsets me," Slyvia said.

The Schmidts were heading out on their usual morning walk last Wednesday when they spotted a young man across the street.

"He said good morning, how are you? We said fine, he said have a great day, we went on our way," Sylvia said.

The Schmidts now believe that man had been watching them for days and broke into their house minutes after they left.

Sylvia said, "We got a phone call on my cell phone saying the alarm was going off, and I couldn't believe it."

Atwater police rushed to the scene, but the Schmidts say the suspect got away with thousands of dollars' worth of jewelry, a laptop, a camera, and both of their wallets.

Sylvia said, "I was devastated when I went, I mean you are, just devastated, you're just like, who could do this to us?"

Investigators now believe the answer is Zeckaria Nedwicke. Officers tracked him down after an alarm went off during a burglary at another home in the area on Wednesday. Lieutenant Sammy Joseph says the 20-year-old may to blame for more than ten similar day time break-ins.

Lt. Sammy Joseph said, "I think he knew his surroundings, so he was familiar with them, so during the day or night did not make a difference to him, it was just opportunity."

The Schmidts say they're relieved by the arrest and hope others will learn from what happened to them.

Sylvia said, "It just taught us something that we need to be aware of our surroundings, and we thought we were safe, but we aren't."

Detectives are now looking into whether Nedwicke also robbed an 81-year-old woman in her home Tuesday morning.

Police say she fought back by throwing a chair at the suspect, but he still got away with her purse.


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