NEWARK — Since late October, the village of Newark has seen a string of nighttime burglaries at homes where residents have left their doors unlocked.
Five burglaries have occurred in the same area, the southeast part of the village, with similar circumstances, Newark Police Chief David Christler said. All homes were two-story, the doors to the homes were unlocked, and electronics like flat-screen TVs and laptop computers are primarily what’s been taken, he said. In all but one of the burglaries, the homeowners were at home and asleep when the thefts occurred between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m., Christler added. And if the cars in the driveway are open, the burglars are helping themselves to what’s inside those as well, he said.
Police believe the burglaries are the work of more than one person, but Christler said he doesn’t believe the burglars are casing neighborhoods.
“It doesn’t appear they case the neighborhoods so much as that they know the neighborhoods,” the police chief said.
Police have been unable to develop many leads regarding the burglaries, despite the patterns in the cases, and the burglars remain at large.
The department is also investigating two daytime burglaries that appear completely unrelated, Christler said. These burglaries appear to be the work of a single person, who pushes his or her way through a door, entering locked homes by force, and stealing jewelry and cash.
Christler said with so many places accepting gold jewelry in exchange for cash, jewelry has become a popular item taken in burglaries. Shops that buy gold for cash typically melt the gold down immediately, he added.
The village has an ordinance that requires all second-hand shops accepting second-hand items from people to notify police about the items they receive, but Christler would like to see the local law tightened up. Christler said he would like the law to include a requirement that shops get a photo ID and videotape the transactions, with the video footage kept for at least a month. Monroe County has already passed legislation that requires pawn shops to hold items they accept from customers for two weeks — a positive measure, Christler said, since many items stolen locally end up in Rochester pawn shops.
Christler said police usually see a spike in burglaries around Christmastime, so residents are encouraged to secure their doors and windows around the home, not forgetting outside entrances into basements and garages, and to lock their vehicles. Neighbors should also watch for strange people in yards and call 911 if they suspect something.
“Don’t be afraid to call 911,” Christler said. “There’s no ridiculous call.”