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Billings resident frustrated over petty theft of garden lights

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Posted at 5:42 PM, Sep 12, 2023

BILLINGS — Catching a theft on camera has become more common but sometimes, what people are caught stealing can be head-scratching.

"If you’re going to steal something from a residence, why steal something as low-key as garden lights?" said Al Falcon, a Billings resident who had lights stolen from his front yard early Tuesday morning.

We’ve seen plenty of instancesof people making off with packages from someone’s front porch, but garden lights are a new one.

"It was one, unique in that sense, and I thought, how ridiculous? But then there’s the sense of violation that someone would come into our yard into the night and take these things," added Falcon.

Falcon’s camera sends him motion alerts, so he thought he was set up to protect against this kind of thing. But, just two nights ago, a spider gave him a false alarm.

And he figured it was just the spider making another appearance Tuesday morning.

"Most nights, I would’ve caught it during the act but since I just had the spider false alarm a few days ago and I was tired, I said I’ll just check it in the morning," Falcon added.

It was an unwelcome sight.

But why did it happen?

Andy Nelson owns Western Pawn in downtown Billings and said stolen goods make their way into the shop all the time.

"The police officer coming in and putting it on hold and it's actually stolen and they’re actually starting the whole process, that’s probably three times a month on average," said Nelson.

He said all pawn shops are required to provide a list of what they buy to police, so police can check the items against stolen goods.

Something that Falcon himself benefited from before when his car was broken into 20 years ago.

"I ended up finding the stereo myself at a local pawn shop because I had the serial numbers and everything so I kept checking the pawn shops and within about a month or so I actually tracked it down and found it," Falcon said.

As for this incident, Falcon said his intent is focused less on getting his lights back and more on warning others.

"I’d really rather put it out there in the sense of not necessarily to get our property back, that would be wonderful, but really just to alert our neighbors that this is going on. This happened here at our place, and it could very easily happen to our next-door neighbor or a couple blocks away," said Falcon.