Police tie burglary increase to faltering economy
Burglary rise tied to bad times
By Debra Friedman
Posted: 01/13/2009 08:29:02 PM EST
As the economy continues to struggle, police said, residential burglaries are on the upswing in several areas of town as criminals become more brazen in their attempts to grab valuables from homes in the community.
Police said 18 residential burglaries occurred in Old Greenwich, Riverside, Byram and parts of the backcountry over the last two months, a spike that many believe coincides with the troubling financial times.
"When the economy suffers, some people turn to crime," said Detective Timothy Powell, head of the Greenwich Police Department's Burglary Clearance Squad. Powell said he recorded 82 burglaries in 2008, a jump of 11 incidents from 2007.
Last week, police said a burglary in progress turned into a robbery after a man in his 20s came home to his apartment on Mill Street in Byram Thursday afternoon to find two teenagers had broken in through a bedroom window and were attempting to steal a PlayStation video game system. Police said the man was tied up by the teens, who then fled the scene. However, the victim quickly freed himself and chased the two robbers down Mill Street, near Henry Street, where a confrontation took place.
"Following the incident, there was a scuffle on the street and someone stopped to break it up," said Powell, who noted that police were hoping the good Samaritan would come forward to help identify the robbery suspects. Police said the robbers dropped the video game system they stole from the apartment during the fight and it was recovered by the victim. The robbers were able to flee the scene before police arrived, police said.
Powell said the incident became a robbery when a confrontation ensued between the man and the teens who had taken property from him.....
.....Detectives also are investigating several burglaries that have been reported in Old Greenwich and Riverside, where about seven burglaries were reported in a span of six weeks, Powell said. Police said they believe suspects in these burglaries are entering homes using unlocked doors and windows.
"I think there are numerous entities operating," said Powell of the break-ins in the Old Greenwich and Riverside neighborhoods.
In addition to the Byram robbery, police are probing a set of burglaries reported in the area, although police do not believe the teenage suspects are tied to any other break-in's.
On the North side of town, four burglaries were reported along the Merritt Parkway corridor, three of them recently, a pattern that prompted police to issue a warning to residents earlier this month. Police Chief David Ridberg said they issued the warning because they believe the crimes are related. Police said in these burglaries, suspects were entering homes through second story windows and balconies and removing valuable items when residents were not home.....
....Powell said police also sent out advisories to local neighborhood associations regarding an increase in burglaries in town over the past few weeks.
Peter Uhry, a member of the Old Greenwich Association, said he felt residents in his area were aware of the threat, but said it never hurts to be reminded.
" I think people should be reminded "¦ we tend to be a trusting lot and, with these harder economic times, I think it heightens the occasions when burglaries might occur," said Uhry.
Keith Felcyn, president of the Round Hill Association, said he received an e-mail from police in early January regarding burglaries in the backcountry, and was not surprised given what he considered, "dangerous times."
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