UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - It was the 1980s. George Alderman was addicted to heroin. If you left your door unlocked, he'd enter your home and steal whatever he could to feed his habit with little care about how you'd feel to return home from work and find your beloved family heirlooms gone.
"I didn't give a rat's rear end what they felt or not, today I think about it and it's like you know 'what if that was me?'.....I imagine a lot of the stuff I've taken from them were sentimental objects," said Alderman.
For Alderman and his partner in crime, it was all about opportunity. The addicts were ready to capitalize on your carelessness.
"It was very amazing that the people in the country did not lock their doors especially up in Old Forge and West Winfield. You go to the front door and it might be locked, you go to the back door it'll be wide open," said Alderman from his west Utica apartment.
Alderman says the duo would often spend as much as an hour burglarizing a home. They preferred rural areas with fewer neighbors to see their nefarious deeds.
"If there was no cars we'd knock on the door first. Nobody answer, either kick in the door or go through a window," says Alderman.
If someone did answer the door...
"We'd ask directions, say excuse me but we're lost or we're having car trouble. You'd be surprised at how fast a junkie can think up a lie," says Alderman.
The former addict and burglar says it wouldn't take much to keep him out of your home.
"Keep your door locked. Get a dog. Even the smallest dog in the world. We went to houses before, and if we hear a dog, we scram. I don't care if it was a Chihuahua. We would not stay in that area. We would not go in that house....or if we see a sign out front that says protected by 'cable security company' well that's another one. We're not going near it."
Alderman has been clean for your years, getting out of prison early for good behavior. He now travels throughout central New York, speaking to at-risk groups about addiction and recovery.
Asked how he's remained drug-free for four years: "One day at a time".