Sign up for Boston 25 News emails!

Delivered To Your Inbox

Inside the mind of a criminal


SPECIAL REPORT ( -- With the weather getting warmer and summer quickly approaching, home burglaries typically are on the rise this time of year. To help protect your home from being the next target, we wanted to get inside the mind of those who broke into homes for a living before being caught.

FOX25's Bob Ward sat down with two men, behind bars, at the Worcester County Jail.

“I'm Matthew Witacek, I'm from West Warren, Mass. I'm in for breaking and entering, larceny from a building. I'm doing 2 years,” he said.

Ward also interviewed, Dylan Patchen, 27.

"I'm from East Brookfield, Massachusetts. I'm here for breaking and entering, larceny, I got a two year sentence for it," he said.

The two young men have lost a full decade of their lives to heroin and jail. They say they're tired of living this way. And they spoke to Ward, from behind bars, to allow us into their criminal minds, both saying, it was their heroin addictions that forced them to break into people's homes.

When asked how much money was needed to fuel his habit, Witacek said, "At the end, it was anywhere from 250 to 300 dollars a day."

"I don't think about stealing until I start using. I start using, I don't think like a normal human being," Patchen said.

What they looked for

When asked what they looked for in a home before breaking in, Witacek said, "I'd look for cars in the drive way. Lights on, TV on. The neighbors whether they were around," he said.

Patchen said he "wouldn't break into a house that had a dirt lawn." He added, "If it had nice green grass, nice walkway, I knew they had money."

What time of day did they like to break-in?

Both men said they liked the mornings to break into homes, after the adults are at work, and the kids are at school and neither one of them, broke anything to get inside.

"I never broke a door, I never broke a window. If the door knob didn't turn I wouldn't go in," Patchen said.

"If you put a sign of entry then it makes it obvious. Then the cops are going to get called. Then they are going to investigate it. Then they are going to look to who did it. Doing fingerprint checks and all that," Witacek said.

What room did they immediately go to?

Ward asked the pair when they went into a home, what were they looking for?

"Jewelry. Or money," Patchen said.

He said he would go the master bedroom looking for it.

When asked what kind of jewelry they would look for, Witacek said, "rings, necklaces, watches you just take anything that's there. Gold."

Both told FOX25 that within hours of a house break, the precious jewelry was gone, to pawn shops, drug dealers.

"You hit seven houses in 2 weeks, how much money you think you got out of those houses?" Ward asked Patchen.

"Probably 10k," he said, and he spent that money on drugs.

Would you know?

Both men said, they were always careful, and many victims never knew they were robbed.

"If you take everything, it's obvious. It's gone. Somebody must have took it,"Witacek said. "But if you see a pile of $200, you take 50 or a 100, they'll think 'maybe I spent it.' Where did i put it?"

Massachusetts crime by location & population

Property crimes occur more frequently in the highest volume areas. Boston being number 1, and Lynn number 10. But crime occurs everywhere. If those two burglars taught us anything about safety, its to lock your doors, don't open the door for anyone you do not know, and be smart about where you store your valuables.