BERLIN — The ongoing rash of residential burglaries in Berlin continued unabated last week with two more cases reported, but local law enforcement officials believe they are closing in on the perpetrators.
The spree began with four residential burglaries in a span of eight days in late March and continued last week with two more reported cases. In each case, the victims were either out of town when the break-ins occurred, or, in the case of one last week, the victims were just out for the evening.
Berlin Police, working in cooperation with the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI), are pursuing leads and processing the crime scenes, but no firm suspects have been identified. Berlin Police Chief Arnold Downing confirmed this week a search warrant was obtained and executed on a possible suspect, but the effort proved fruitless. Nonetheless, Downing believes the identification and arrest of a suspect or suspects is near.
“We’re getting somewhere,” he said. “I definitely feel like we’re getting close.”
The two latest burglaries occurred sometime last Thursday evening with one on Vine Street and the other in Walnut Hill. In each case, the victims were not at home and in one case, the victims were reportedly just out to dinner for a couple of hours. In one case, not only did the suspect or suspects enter the residence and steal numerous items, but also caused a considerable amount of damage.
The spree began on Pitts Street on March 22, followed by a second on Kenwood Court on March 23. The third in that earlier sequence occurred on Broad Street on March 26, followed by a fourth on Washington Street a day later.
“The big thing is, even if you’re going out for the evening for four or five hours, you have to make sure your doors and windows are locked,” Downing said. “In over half of these cases, the victims either had doors or windows left unlocked. The suspect or suspects are looking for easy marks.”
The chief said residents should always contact the police department if they are going out of town, but should do so now more than ever in light of the recent spree of break-ins.
“If they’re going out of town, they should tell the police department,” he said. “We have forms they can fill out that tell us how long they’re going to be away, who has a spare key, when they’re returning etc. We’ll do property checks and drive by periodically if we know they aren’t home.”
In addition, residents are urged to rely on friends, family and neighbors as well.
“Tell your trusted neighbors and friends you’re going away so they can keep an eye on your property, pick up the mail, clear newspapers out of the driveway and things like that,” he said.