Fort Worth man says dispatchers wouldn't send police to burglary

Posted Monday, Nov. 05, 2012  comments  Print Reprints

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FORT WORTH -- Shortly before 4 a.m. Sunday, Leroy Reber was awakened by a text message telling him that his burglar alarm had gone off at his business, DFW Wholesale Security.

From his home, he pulled up the video feed of his security cameras where he could see the burglar walking around the outside of the building, trying to find a way in.

Then he saw the burglar slam a minivan into the corner of his business at 1809 W. Berry St.

Reber called Fort Worth police but was told they couldn't respond because he had failed to pay his $50 annual alarm permit fee.

"The dispatcher said, 'No we can't send. We can't dispatch to that,'" Reber said. "I told them someone was there at that moment committing a crime and they still said 'no.' I just don't understand why they wouldn't respond when I knew there was a burglar at my business at that moment."

While it is the policy of police to respond only to businesses that have paid alarm permit fees, Maj. Paul Henderson tweeted Monday morning that police were investigating the situation.

"Obviously we are looking into this," Henderson tweeted.

Fort Worth police spokesman Daniel Segura said police dispatchers typically act on the information provided by callers to determine if a crime is taking place.

“As far as responding to an active call or crime in progress, Fort Worth police call takers and dispatch rely on details provided by the caller, and in cases where there is a crime in progress then that call takes priority for dispatch and responding officers to rapidly act,” Segura said.

When asked if police received information from Reber that he had a live video feed of the burglary in progress, Segura responded, “not to my knowledge.”

But, he added, “we are verifying all the details in reference to this call to ensure our community that all guidlines were followed.”

Segura said officers at 4:08 a.m. were “flagged down by someone reporting their store being broken into.”

When Reber and police arrived, they found the burglar had been unsuccessful stealing any of the store's video or computer equipment, but caused about $10,000 damage to the exterior of his building.

"He couldn't get through my security gates," Reber said. "Two Plexiglas windows were broken out and the corner of the building got knocked off the foundation by the van. The building took a beating."

From looking at the video, Reber said he believes it would have taken the burglar another five minutes to get inside the store.

"When the whole back of the minivan got shattered, he probably got spooked," Reber said. "He probably wondered if he was going to be able to get out of there."

It is the fourth time Reber's business has been burglarized since it opened in 2007. In 2008, Reber said the store was hit by burglars three times.

Segura also reported records show that the permit for the store’s address expired on Nov. 30, 2011. There had been four false alarms there since April 2008, Segura said.

"I understand why they have the alarm permit because of false calls -- but this wasn't a false call," Reber said. "There was a burglary in progress so I don't understand why they didn't respond."

Bill Hanna, (817) -390-7698

Twitter: @fwhanna

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1809 W. Berry St., Fort Worth, TX
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