Burglaries increase as weather improves
It's much the same story every year: as we head into the summer months, burglaries accelerate in the neighborhood and eventually, after several months of this increased criminal activity, we remind readers to be vigilant. This year we're reminding everyone early on: watch those open doors and windows on warm days and don't leave ladders propped up against your house or lying handy in the yard. These thoughtless acts can become invitations to the wrong kind of guest.
Not that criminals really need an invitation. There are always a number of forced-entry burglaries that occur here in any given month, good weather or bad. We had a few of these in April. The first took place on the 2200 block of 39th Avenue E. at about 1pm on April 3. A woman reported to police that an unknown male had come into her house through a window and might still be in the house. Police checked the house but did not find the intruder. She told police that the perpetrator, described as a Latino male in his early 20s, had suddenly entered her second-story bedroom. The woman screamed and the man ran back downstairs, apparently exiting through an open window. Police found latent prints around the window sill. A police search of the neighborhood was inconclusive.
There was a burglary reported on the 3800 block of E. Highland Drive on April 11. The homeowner reported that when he returned home that afternoon he noticed that the drawers to his desk were open and that some "Sacagawea coins" were missing. As he walked towards his bedroom, he discovered a crowbar on the floor near the bedroom door and noticed that the back door to the house was wide open. It appeared that the intruders had tried to use the crowbar to gain entrance to the door leading to the main house, where the victim's landlords lived. Police determined that the suspect had probably entered the premises through an open window.
Another incident occurred on the 1200 block of 38th Avenue E. and was reported on April 17, when a homeowner discovered that about $60,000 worth of heirloom jewelry had been stolen from a safe in her home. She reported to police that the home is completely armed, and the only people who knew the code were family members and the cleaning crew, who had worked for her for more than ten years. The thief, after stealing the jewelry, had replaced the empty boxes back in the safe so that the theft would go unnoticed for some time. The victim told police that she had last seen the jewelry on February 14.
A burglary also occurred on April 21 in The Edgewater Apartments. The apartment dwellers reported that when they left their residence in the morning they had locked the door. When they returned, however, the door was not dead-bolted. They immediately noticed that an iPad was missing from the apartment, later noticing that a keyboard for the iPad, plus two chargers and two headphones were also not to be found. Some jewelry had also been taken. The police report notes that there was no sign of forced entry, but the apartment had a kitchen window that didn't lock and that leads to a fire escape which is shared with a neighbor. The apartment building, which contains six apartments, is accessible through a secured main-floor lobby, to which tenants gain access by punching a code into an exterior keypad.
There were also two burglaries of neighborhood businesses during the month. On April 2, Nishino experienced a break-in. A 3 ft. by 2 ft. double-paned window was shattered on the front of the restaurant and the suspect climbed inside. It appeared that he had cut himself in the process, since there were blood smears on the floor, leading through the restaurant toward the rear exit. Nothing appeared to have been stolen. In the second incident, occurring on April 27, a business on the 4100 block of E. Madison Street. The owner reported that about $2,000 worth of product had been stolen from the premises.
During the month there were also three cases of fraud/identity theft in the neighborhood (one from the Madison Park Blogger's household), one stolen vehicle (from the 2000 block of 43rd Avenue E. on April 16) and one car prowl (on the 1800 block of 43rd Avenue E. on April 24). There were also three reports of graffiti and two reports of thefts during April.
Looking Back at the First Quarter: We were remiss in the first three months of the year in not reporting monthly on criminal activity (for which we apologize). Here, however, are the statistics for reported crimes during the period:
Car Thefts: 0
Car Break-ins: 13
Identify Thefts: 8
[Guide to map icons: solid cars are car thefts, not-solid cars are car prowls, dollar signs are identity theft, dollar bills are thefts, spray-paint cans are property damage (usually graffiti) and starbursts are burglaries.]