Ex-con Shares Tips To Help People Deter Property Crimes

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An ex-con spoke out Tuesday night about how to keep people like him out of your home and wallet.

The ex-con spoke to a group in Athens County.

"You name it, I've done it wrong," said David Leffingwell.

"Theft, bank robbery, burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, I mean, I was off the hook," said Leffingwell.

A bank robbery at 15 sparked a lifetime of crime for Leffingwell.

"I done 10 years in Folsom, California. I done eight years in the mountains of West Virginia. 14 years in Chillicothe," said Leffingwell.

He says he has cleaned up his act and wants to turn his bad deeds into good ones.

"The people I've hurt in my life. I'll never get a chance to apologize to them. It's been so many years ago but I can give back to Athens," Leffingwell said.

Athens County can use his insight. Police have recorded more than 20 burglaries in Athens since the end of April. The prosecutor says felonies are up and 90 percent of property thefts go back to drugs.
"You run out of money. You can't earn enough money to be smoking crack, that's what I was a crack head,"  said Leffingwell.

Leffingwell is educating this crowd as part of an effort by the prosecutor and law enforcement to stop the crimes.

"Start by putting fake cameras up. They don't got to be real," said Leffingwell.

"They gonna get up any scraps of paper they can find, that's got your name, numbers whatever on.  If they can't use it, they got somebody they can sell it to," said Leffingwell.

He preaches noise.  Anything that makes sound, burglars avoid.  This group listens intently.  One is The Plains crime watch president Bill Johnson.

"Someone broke into my storage unit and stole some wire and stole some batteries from my equipment," said Johnson.

He's also a victim and he thinks Leffingwell's advice in invaluable.

"You can learn a lot from them," said Johnson.