If you live near Laning Avenue School and have a deck on the back of your house, you might want to pay attention to this story. If you have a car anywhere in town that you leave unlocked overnight, you should read on as well.
Since February there have been seven attempted burglaries in the quadrant of town that surrounds Laning. Two were unsuccessful, but in five, the burglar did get into the home–at night, while its residents were asleep, including one this past week. In each case, the pattern of the crime was the same. The burglar went onto the home’s rear deck, cut a window screen and entered through an unlocked window. The thief finds a purse or wallet, relieves it of its cash, and exits through the same window. Nothing else in any of the homes was disturbed and no residents have been harmed.
This past week, while Verona’s schools were on break, there were also five vehicle break-ins across town, although again the thief didn’t have to do much breaking: The cars were unlocked and parked in their owner’s driveway.
Verona Police Chief Doug Huber says the department has some leads that it is pursuing and has put out extra unmarked cars on the midnight shift. But he concedes that patrols will only go so far because the burglar is getting into homes from their backyards. He’s asking residents to lock their windows and their cars at night, and take a cell phone to bed so that they can quickly dial 911 if needed. For the record, Verona typically has only about two dozen burglaries a year, though Huber says that we have had many years of fewer than 10.
If you know something about the burglar’s identity that the police should know, call the detective bureau at (973) 857-4819.