Crofton home break-ins prompt a mobilization Residents set up night patrols

September 24, 1996|By Tanya Jones | Tanya Jones,SUN STAFF

A rash of home break-ins in Crofton, including six since Aug. 1 on Eaton Way, has spurred residents to mobilize night patrols and develop a network of neighbors.

More than 100 Crofton residents, many of them from E-section, filled the volunteer fire hall on Route 424 last night to hear more about the break-ins and find out what precautions to take. Many residents said they should have been notified sooner by Crofton police or by town hall officials that their neighborhoods were being targeted in a series of crimes.

In E-section, all street names start with the letter E.

"One of the main concerns we heard tonight was the lack of communication," said Shannon Garden, 27, a resident of Eaton Way, who with her husband, Richard, and a team of neighbors organized the meeting.

Crofton Police Chief Deborah Bogush told the audience that she would send out a letter today informing E-section of the break-ins.

The Gardens decided to do something after their next-door neighbors and a house two doors away were burglarized within three days of each other last week. "We kind of felt like we were next," Shannon Garden said.

Last Wednesday, Richard Garden and a handful of neighbors began patrolling the E section at night in two-hour shifts. They were looking to sign up more volunteers last night.

According to Chief Bogush, a string of 16 break-ins began Aug. 1. In the incidents, the intruders usually enter homes through open garage doors or break in through a rear door in the garage. In some cases, the thieves entered the house through an unlocked interior door from the garage while residents were asleep between 2: 30 a.m. and 5: 30 a.m.

The bandits have taken money from purses, laptop computers, golf clubs and electronic equipment, according to Bogush.

Among her tips for residents: lock overhead garage doors at night; lock the door leading from the garage to the house; don't leave purses or wallets in the kitchen or dining area, and call 911 to report any suspicious people in the neighborhood.

Howard R. Davis' house on Eaton Way was one of the first homes hit in August. The intruders tried several different ways to break in to the home from the garage but were unsuccessful. They did steal binoculars and other items from Davis' car.

Davis, 67, said last night's meeting was a good first step toward preventing more crime.

"I still think it's up to the citizens to band together to form a crime watch," Davis said. "We can't depend on the police. They're too thin."

Pub Date: 9/24/96

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