(ABC NEWS)- It’s the dead of night and a lone man is prowling.
He makes his way carefully around a house, his T-shirt pulled up to hide most of his back and head. He opens a bin kept outside to check its contents. He leans into a window, peeks in and quickly jerks his head back. In that moment, just for a couple of seconds, his face is visible in the surveillance camera above him.
Then he hunches down again, feels for the flap of a doggie door, opens it and begins his way in. The next video shows him crawling out of the doggie door, legs first, dragging something with him.
It isn’t much footage, but it was enough for police in Houston, Texas, to identify and arrest a man they say is responsible for a string of burglaries and thefts in the area over the last few months. A copy of the surveillance tape has been obtained by ABC News.
Police said that Alan Alvarado, 35, is the astonishingly elastic invader who wriggled his way through the doggie door of the Houston home and stole more than $100,000 worth of jewelry and guns, before escaping the same way. Authorities believe he’s struck other homes before.
“He gets in any way he can, but this case is the only one in which we have been able to determine he used a doggie door to gain entry,” Kevin Quinn of the Harris County Precinct One Constable’s Office told ABC News. “Our…deputy was looking into vehicle break-ins and had actually been talking to Alvarado for several months.”
It was the surveillance video of the doggie door theft, sent to police by the owner of the home, Daniel Benge, that helped cinch his arrest, according to a police report on the incident.
Benge told ABC affiliate KTRK that what disturbed him most was finding out that Alvarado lives near him. “Being broken into is one thing, but finding out that it’s also your neighbor is a different thing,” he said.
Benge said the burglar came back several times, even after the doggie door break-in and even though by then, Benge had boarded up the opening where the flap used to be.
“My mom’s really shaken up about it,” he said.
Police told ABC News that Alvarado was charged with one count of burglary and remains in custody on a bond of $40,000.