By Camaron Abundes
GARDENDALE- There's not a Deputy to spare. That's the word straight from the Ector County Sheriff's Office and it's not sitting well with folks in Gardendale who are tired of living without a Deputy on patrol. Neighbors say they're small community is becoming the target of burglars.
"They kicked in the front door and went in and stole all of my guns and stuff," Resident Dewayne Cunningham explains how burglars broke into his home before stealing thousands of dollars in guns and electronics.
The worries are growing in Gardendale. So far the Sheriff's office reports burglaries remain relatively low, there have been just a handful of break-ins. However, residents like Kevin Reed, who started a petition to increase patrols in the area, say neighbors fear without and an Ector County Sheriff's Deputy on patrol during the day it's only a matter of time before things get worse.
"They're getting braver and braver every time they break in somewhere," Reed said.
Reed showed NewsWest 9 a petition with signatures from at least at least 200 Gardendale residents.
"Obviously they stake out and know when you're not there," Cunningham said of the burglars who stole gifts and guns from his deceased father. "You can't put a value on something my father gave me or that I gave my son."
Sheriff Mark Donaldson refused to go on camera but he did tell Newswest 9 the number of burglaries remains low compared to other parts of the county with higher crime rates. Still he says he's trying to gather enough overtime money to pay for a Deputy to cover Gardendale.
"Everybody out here pays taxes just like everybody else," Reed says law enforcement should balance out deputies throughout the Ector County. "So people can go to work and not have to worry about whether their houses are going to be ransacked or cleaned out when they get home. They shouldn't have to worry about it."
Without a Deputy, some residents say they feel forgotten.
"That our community is not important to the rest of Ector County," Cunningham explained.