York Regional Police are warning the public about an uptick in home break-ins as the days get shorter and they say one recent incident where the suspects were caught running away with a ladder was captured on video by a door-cam and police helicopter.

The incident occurred in Aurora on Nov. 12. Police said the homeowner received an alert from her security cameras and called the police.

Officers responded on the ground with the Canine Unit and coordinated with Air2 to capture the suspects.

Video from the homeowner’s security camera captured two suspects trying to flee with a ladder.

Footage from the helicopter’s night vision camera then captured the suspect trying to flee into the woods to evade police.

The footage shows the two suspects splitting up and running in different directions.

Police eventually caught up with one of the suspects and took him into custody. The 30-year-old has since been charged with break and enter with intent and trespass at night.

Police said they are still trying to identify the second suspect.

Officers responded to another incident the same day — this one in Vaughan— where the suspects tried to gain entry to a second-storey window of a home by stacking patio furniture on top of a large heater. They fled when police arrived and are still outstanding.

In a news release Tuesday, police said that they have seen an upward trend in break and enters across York Region as daylight hours have grown shorter.

Thieves are also taking advantage of the fact that many people are working away from their homes once again, as well as taking trips, police said.

“Shorter daylight hours and increased trips away from the house may be making easier targets for enterprising criminals,” Supt. Russ Bellman of #1 District said in the release. “Last year, in the midst of the pandemic, residents were spending more time in their homes.”

YRP said they have investigated 77 break and enters across York Region over a two-week period from Nov. 7-21.

They said that is the highest number of break-ins in the two-week period following daylight saving time since 2019.

There are a number of actions homeowners can take to better secure their homes, police said. They include:

  • Install a quality deadbolt lock and always lock doors and windows, even on the second floor
  • Put some interior lights on timers to give thieves the impression you are at home
  • Ask a friend to pick up mail, shovel snow or park in your driveway if you are away
  • Install a security camera that provides updates to your mobile phone
  • Follow Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design principles at your home, design principles which make a space less attractive for criminal behaviour