A string of break-ins in the Pine Island community of Bokeelia targeted more than half a dozen homes over the summer. The break-ins happened between June and September in a small neighborhood, including homes on Sun Diet Boulevard, Caloosa Drive and Hibiscus Avenue.
"Between the damage they did and the dollar amount, it was close to $3,000," said one victim on Sun Diet Boulevard. She asked not to be identified.
"They did manage to break in, and stole electronics that we had - TVs and computers," she added.
Some of the other homes that were targeted - likely owned by seasonal residents - still had hurricane shutters up by late October.
"Putting up hurricane shutters is the worst thing you can do," said private investigator and security expert Walt Zalisko. "You're giving the thief the impression that nobody's home."
He said it's much wiser for snow birds to have a home watch professional or trusted neighbor put up those shutters when needed instead.
He also advises that home owners engrave contact information on the back of any valuables thieves might try to pawn, such as TVs and computers.
"Just put your initials and cell number on there," Zalisko said. "The pawn broker is going to be reluctant to take that item if they see somebody's ID on the back of it."
Besides installing security cameras to help identify any potential thieves, Zalisko said there's another simple way for snow birds to keep valuables more secure while they're away for months at a time.
"Put them in a storage facility," he said. "The costs of a small unit are minimal, and at least you'll safeguard your valuable property."
The victim on Sun Diet Boulevard said she's hired security company ADT since thieves broke into her home.
"We have full-time monitoring," she said. "All the windows and doors have motion sensors on them. It's pretty much like Fort Knox now."