Concord residents help police catch 'brazen' cat burglar

CONCORD, Calif. (KTVU) -- Concord Police arrested a man Tuesday night they described as a "bold" and "brazen" serial burglar who is suspected in as many as nine separate break-ins.

The arrest happened in Antioch shortly before 8:30 p.m. Police said they received information that Jason Lee Harris was riding in a car with a relative on busy Lonetree Way.

Officers pulled the vehicle over in a shopping center and arrested the 31 year old. Authorities say the Harris is suspected of breaking into homes during the past six months in the neighborhoods near the two BART stations in Concord.

Investigators suspect Harris burglarized 9 homes in Concord with the most recent incident happening on San Carlos Way. It was in that area where he was captured on surveillance camera.

Concord resident Teresa Molnar told KTVU the new surveillance camera her husband installed caught a man opening her side gate and trying to break into her home through the back door.

"It was really surprising. We've never had problems and we've been here 18 years," said Molnar.

He was scared off when the motion detector light came on, but not before the camera captured his image.

"I wake up at nights now thinking, 'Is somebody in my room?'" said Molnar.

Police say Harris may have burglarized 9 homes, always between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. while people were asleep.

"He's very brazen. It's very bold. That's why we call him the cat burglar, because he's going in when people are home," said Concord Police Corporal Christopher Blakely.

The sense of security at the Mathewson home was shattered when a man broke in about two weeks ago.

"Very unsettled; I just feel restless, violated to say the least," said Debbie Mathewson.

She told KTVU the burglar went into the bedroom of her 17-year-old daughter while she was sleeping.

"It was 4:45 in the morning. I woke up to hearing her scream 'Mom! Dad!' at the top of her lungs. A voice you don't forget ever," said Mathewson.

She said the thief stole only a little more than seven dollars that was on a dresser before he took off.

Police said the teenager's description, along with the neighbor's surveillance video, helped investigators identify Harris as a suspect.

Concord homeowners tell KTVU they now lock their gates, doors and windows, something they never did before.

"Concord used to be a really nice place. I grew up here all my life," said Mathewson.

Police said suspect Harris is already on probation in Solano County for burglary. Investigators say he may have taken BART to and from his crimes.

Neighbors expressed relief when told a suspect has been arrested.