Thieves using spreadsheets, cameras and costumes to scope homes

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SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. -- Thieves in Shelby County are getting smarter.

"They're hitting everywhere," said Shelby County Detective David Mays. "They're actually getting very sophisticated."

Mays said after busing some bandits recently, he found out the group was snapping pictures of homes and keeping the info on an Excel spreadsheet.

"They have the address of the home, the description of the home, and what vehicles belong there. They actually have times and dates when people leave for work, and the times and dates when they get back home," said Mays.

He said it's getting harder to spot a thief too since some are dressing up in costumes.

SCSO is on the hunt for a group dressing up like construction workers who are connected to burglaries in Memphis, Collierville, Germantown and in the county.

"They are flying under the radar, because people think they are construction workers," said Mays.

He said crooks are desperate, and unfortunately, it's going to get worse as we near the holidays.

At least 32 people have been booked at 201 Poplar for theft, burglary or robbery in the past two days.

Those are just the suspects who've been caught too.

"Make sure everything is locked up, and we have a pit bull who is very protect and then little Levi who is the backup ," said Memphis resident Taasha Lindsey.

Many folks have taken extra precautions.

Some neighborhoods like Colonial Acres even started a social media group to keep each other informed.

SCSO also recommended you don't park your car in the same spot and don't leave the same lights on in your home every day.

Mays said detectives are close to catching the thieves dressing like construction workers.

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