A series of burglaries in the Los Angeles area have taken place while homes are shrouded in tents erected by an extermination company, says the Los Angeles Times. In one case, the two-story dwelling was pumped full of Vikane, a gas that kills pests but is potentially lethal to humans as well.
Residents often don’t consider the possibility of theft. “I don’t think it even crosses their minds. They think there are going to be dangerous chemicals in there, so who’s going to go in?” said Bill Bancroft, owner of Patrol One, a Santa Ana-based security service. “A thief might think entirely differently, though. They’re thinking they can use a cheap gas mask and with the tent, nobody is going to even see them.” Smaller exterminator companies often do not cover the theft of personal property from homes being fumigated. They recommend that valuables be removed, or that private security guards be hired to watch the property, a suggestion endorsed by the state’s Department of Consumer Affairs.