Hurricane glass thwarts Delray Beach burglary attempt

If not for the strength of the glass in the French doors at the back of his house, two men may have been able to break in and steal some of his possessions on May 17.

The hurricane glass — powerful enough to withstand full swings of a sledgehammer — stopped the would-be burglars' attempt to enter the house with a brick.

"It was a good investment and I'm glad I made it," Rosenbaum said. "It would be a good investment for anyone."

Hurricane glass is gaining a reputation as a good way to protect homes from more than just Mother Nature. Often burglars — like those in Rosenbaum's case — find themselves thwarted by the impact-resistant glass when they try to use bricks or other items to smash windows or glass doors to gain entry into a home.

While real numbers are hard to come by, anecdotally, some local authorities think hurricane glass has often been the unsung hero of failed burglary attempts.

"It could certainly be an asset," said Nicole Gerriero, public information officer with the Delray Beach Police Department. "It doesn't give burglars the time they need to perform."

Similar cases have popped up before.

In June 2010, two alleged would-be burglers threw bricks at windows and a glass door of the Seaside Bank in Ponte Vedra Beach, the Sun Sentinel reported.

The glass didn't shatter and the burglary failed.

Glass companies have capitalized on the anti-burglary qualities of hurricane glass, using its burgeoning reputation in sales pitches to clients.

Daniel Van Dyke, owner of Window Experts in Boca Raton , has sold many windows to residents for security purposes. His pitch is simple: the glass saves you from hurricanes and people.

"They'll get through the glass, but they won't get through the plastic interlayer," Van Dyke said, describing how hurricane glass works. "If they get through that, they'll be real tired."

Guerriero is more skeptical, saying a determined bad guy can often get inside a home even with the glass.

"We've seen cases where the glass didn't matter much," Guerriero said, adding that Rosenbaum was lucky he had a security system to back up his hurricane glass.

Another glass expert agreed, saying all it takes is time.

"With enough time, you can break through it," said Mitchell Kalakore, operations manager with Champion Glass, Inc. in Fort Lauderdale.

But he still touts hurricane glass' benefits and many customers have been swayed, Kalakore said, while others have not. Why? Because hurricane glass is expensive.

The average price to replace the windows in a home with regular panes will cost between $5,000 and $8,000, VanDyke said.

But for hurricane glass? That's almost twice as expensive.

Because homeowners must replace the window frames to get the benefit of the high-impact glass, the project will cost, on average, between $10,000 and $15,000, depending on the quality and size of the windows.

Rosenbaum, a real estate broker in South Florida, spends his days showing homes to potential buyers. He often tells them why the hurricane glass is a good choice.

Now, he has an anecdote to prove it.

Although Rosenbaum wouldn't disclose how much he spent on his glass, he said he'd recommend it to anyone.

"It's a long-term investment that could save you and your things," Rosenbaum said.


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