Police make busts in burglary outbreak

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

Police are cutting into a recent spike in burglaries, making more than half a dozen arrests in the last two weeks, according to department officials.

Sgt. Jerry Wike, a detective division supervisor, said his department has received more than 60 burglary reports in the last two months. The calls are mostly for automobile break-ins but also include homes and businesses.

The incidents have occurred throughout the city and do not appear to have been committed by one individual or group of individuals, he said.

“We continue to have burglaries and it could be an individual or it could be more working in unison,” he said.

Investigators have made a significant dent in the reported cases and are continuing to work cases, Wike said. There has been no distinct mode of operation in the burglaries, he said.

“It seems like they’re going everywhere,” he said. “It seems like they work one area and then they work another area.
“We’ve chased quite a gamut so far.”

Officers have increased patrols and are looking through old cases to distinguish patterns, Wike said.

The spike began in March.

He said burglaries have become an investigative priority.

“(It is bogging us down), we are definitely putting some of the (less pressing) stuff on the back burner,” he said.

The first break in the cases came in the middle of April when a call of suspicious juvenile activity resulted in the arrest of three juveniles. They confessed to several other burglaries and graffiti incidents.

Another suspect later confessed to seven burglaries, he said. All told, approximately 30 reported incidents have been cleared.

Those arrested include about five adults and four to five juveniles, Wike said. More arrests are pending, he said.

Capt. Patrick Whitney said auto burglaries have increased 10 percent over the number reported in the first four months of last year.

Police often find a connection between drug use, gang activity and property crimes, Whitney said.