By Michael Fitzpatrick
Home break-ins in some of the city’s nicer housing developments continue to be a problem.
What’s disturbing about the burglaries is the brazen nature of the crimes. According to police, the suspect or suspects kick in the front door, then make off with valuables such as jewelry and electronics. The crimes typically occur just after dark while the home’s occupants are away.
In November of last year, North Ridgeville police conducted a public forum to brief residents about the problem. North Ridgeville police Detective Pat West told the audience at that meeting that in the first 10 months of 2015, 18 homes were robbed after forced entry, and only three of the crimes had been solved.
That trend appears to be continuing in 2016.
According to a North Ridgeville police report dated March 5, a home in the 37000 block of Stone Creek Drive was robbed after the front door was kicked in. The suspect or suspects made off with $1,500 in jewelry as well as a safe that contained personal papers, North Ridgeville police Capt. Marti Garrow said. The resident was on vacation at the time of the break-in, according to police.
North Ridgeville Detective Lt. Greg Petek believes the Stone Creek break-in may be connected to a similar break-in that occurred on Feb. 19 in a home on Dogwood Lane, which is located near Stone Creek.
“Same MO, kick-in,” Petek said.
Petek said the Dogwood break-in occurred between the hours of 7 p.m. and 8:24 p.m. when the resident was out.
No other similar crimes have been reported in the city since the reporting of the forced entry to the home on Stone Creek, Garrow said.
Petek said that there have been reports recently of similar break-ins throughout Northeast Ohio, though. He said those break-ins also occurred in the early evening hours in developments that feature cluster homes and cul-de-sacs.
“We’ve got no leads as far as suspects,” Petek said.
Police said last fall the home break-ins in the city are probably the work of a burglary ring that has been hitting homes throughout Lorain and Cuyahoga counties.
Garrow said residents should keep lights on in the home when they do leave to give would-be burglars the impression the residence may be occupied. For residents going on vacation, police do provide a vacation watch service, Garrow said.
“Auxilary (police) come out and check up on the house,” Garrow said.
Garrow also recommended touching base with neighbors when going on vacation.
“If you have a trusted neighbor or someone who can check on the house, that’s certainly helpful,” Garrow said.
Petek recommended residents stay alert and pay attention to any vehicles that may catch their attention. Petek said typically the perpetrators of these types of break-ins drive newer cars so as to not stand out.
“It’s not going to be a vehicle that stands out as far as not belonging in the neighborhood. Usually these guys don’t use junk cars,” Petek said.
Petek recommended residents call police if they spot a vehicle parked in their neighborhood that appears out of place.
“We’ll check them out. From experience dealing with these burglaries, these people will case out neighborhoods and they’ll be sitting there for a while before they do the break-in,” Petek said.