BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A retired Kern County sheriff's deputy is speaking out about his northwest home being broken into three times in roughly the last year. 77-year-old Bernie Eckroth is now asking for the community's help to find the suspect.
Eckroth has lived in his Northwest Bakersfield home since he built it with his wife and son more than two decades ago. And after seeing an unwelcomed visitor on his surveillance camera, he has this wish.
"Lock that sucker up," said Eckroth.
Eckroth said his cameras caught a man on his property near Snow Road and Patton Way Thursday in Northwest Bakersfield. He said he was home watching the news when a car drove up his driveway.
"I saw him drive down the driveway and assumed it was my grandson coming home, so I didn't pay any attention to it until I came back out about an hour later," said Eckroth.
What Eckroth didn't know was caught on camera. This video allegedly shows a man spending fifteen minutes going through Eckroth's garage, workshop and tool shed. The man walked past the camera, and it looked like he looked at it as he walked by. Then left the workshop with tools wrapped in a towel. Then he allegedly comes back and dug through the pickup truck.
Eckroth said the thief took receipts and the registration to his truck. And the more Eckroth watched the surveillance video the more frustrated he says he and his granddaughter, Shannon, got.
Shannon Eckroth said watching the video made her, "Really uncomfortable, because of how causal, he wasn't in a hurry. He almost seemed like he felt comfortable here. That he wasn't in the wrong place, which makes me really uncomfortable."
Eckroth said he called the Kern County Sheriff's Office, but the man was gone when deputies arrived. He also said, this isn't the first time something like this has happened to him.
"About a year and a half ago, I had a gun cabinet broken into and some guns were stolen," said Eckroth.
According to Kern County Sheriff reports, Eckroth's property has been burglarized three times in nearly in fourteen months. And Eckroth said guns he tried to hid were among the items stolen. Now they're trying to share their surveillance video to try to stop this trend.
"Because we don't want him back. We don't want him to burglarize our home or anyone else's. Or escalate and hurt someone," said Shannon Eckroth.
The Eckroths say they have no plans to move in response to these thefts. And if you've seen the man on their surveillance video, to call Kern County Sheriff's Office at 861-3110.