Across the U.S., popular video doorbells are recording their own thefts

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A video doorbell keeps your home safe, letting you see who comes to your door even when you aren’t home. But what happens when your video doorbell itself goes missing entirely?

An uptick in reports of video doorbells getting stolen has left modern homeowners with little recourse to figure out what happened. With news reports of doorbell thefts reaching from Las Vegas and California to Tennessee and Florida, modern homeowners are being left in the dark.

“I felt violated I guess — in the sense that your personal space is about to be violated or somebody is trying to break into a place that’s not theirs,” one victim who didn’t want to be named told KVVU-TV in Las Vegas.

According to the reports, residents are waking up in the morning or coming home at night only to find their video doorbell devices stolen. Typically the devices are screwed into place on the outside of a house, often with mounts or braces to hold them in place. While they are wired into the wall, thieves don’t seem to care too much about that. In most thefts, residents report the devices have been pried off the side of their home.

In some cases, the cameras are able to capture an image of the perpetrator as they are stealing the device. With the best video doorbells, those images are usually available through mobile apps, which might help police track down the person responsible for the theft. There’s no guarantee that officers will be able to find the thieves, however, especially if they steal the device while keeping their face and other identifying features covered while on camera. Police suggest that people write down the serial number on their device to keep track of it and watch in case the device appears on Craigslist, eBay, or other online marketplaces.

The recent spate of thefts reported in Las Vegas is just the latest occurrence of theft as it relates to video doorbells. Last year, numerous reports in a community outside of Denver, Colorado, suggested similar activity was taking place. Similar situations have cropped up in Sacramento, California, as well as Nashville, Tennessee, and Miramar, Florida.

Most video doorbell manufacturers have suggestions for what to do if your device is stolen. Ring has a theft response process set up to help customers get a free replacement when a device is stolen, and Nest has a process of its own to help affected customers. Here’s more information on what you should do if it happens to you.

“Before you do anything else regarding your stolen Ring device, you should report the theft to the police,” Ring’s site advises. “Follow their instructions regarding what you should do until an officer arrives to take your report.”

Advice the owner of any brand of video doorbell should heed — regardless of whether he or she put a Ring on it.

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