Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Burglary Count Climbing

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Burglary Count Climbing

Article excerpt

Burglars have struck houses across Bergen and Passaic counties in recent weeks, making off with copper piping, guns and safes, in addition to cash and jewelry.

And they're breaking in any way they can -- through front doors, back doors, basement windows and sliding-glass doors.

The latest surge of burglaries is the worst since last December and January, when break-ins were reported in clusters in Bloomingdale, Ramsey, Ringwood, Oakland, Saddle Brook, Wanaque and Wayne, among other towns.

Again, police said the watchword is vigilance.

"The problem I have is people don't set their alarms," said Chief Michael Cioffi of the Englewood Cliffs Police Department. "They figure they're home, everything is OK." He said his detectives investigated three burglaries in the last five weeks.

In Wayne, there have been 20 burglaries since April 25, including three since Thursday in which high-end homes were targeted, possibly by several groups, said Chief John Reardon of the Wayne police. The thieves stole jewelry and coins, often using a pillowcase taken from a bed in the house, said Detective Capt. James Clarke of the Wayne police.

The high-end break-ins indicate "a higher level of organization" by thieves, Reardon said, suggesting that they are carefully selecting houses that promise to yield a large volume of valuables.

Jewelry remains a favorite with thieves because gold prices are up and it's easy to offload for cash, said Detective Sgt. Paul Rothlauf of the Police Department in Ringwood, where a house on Buena Vista Drive was hit on Friday.

"People who are not licensed are accepting jewelry and paying these guys cash," Rothlauf said. "They are able to get rid of it without being detected."

Thieves sometimes even show up in the Diamond District in Manhattan to dump jewelry on street buyers, he said.

"Unfortunately, innocent people are suffering and losing their belongings they have had for many, many years," Rothlauf said.

In Lodi, three burglaries have been reported since May 28, police said.

In Paramus, there have been eight burglaries -- six homes and two businesses -- since Saturday, and detectives suspect they may be the work of the same person or group, said Lt. John Scully of the Paramus police.

Burglaries in Englewood have been a near-daily occurrence, said Deputy Chief Lawrence Suffern of the Englewood police.

Since May 2, 18 homes have been burglarized in the city. Jewelry, electronics and copper piping have been swiped, he said.

"Usually they cut [the piping] right out and end up flooding the houses," Suffern said.

Leonia is another hard-hit town, with 14 burglaries reported in the past six months, said Police Chief Jay Ziegler. In four of the residential burglaries, the residents were home, and during one, a resident was injured trying to close the door on the intruder. …

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