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Daytime burglaries on rose

Mayor, chief duty believe ring working area

POSTED: February 13, 2009 10:15 a.m.
Eleven days after being burglarized, Crystal Vasquez said every day she still notices more and more things that were taken from her home where she lives with her 4-year-old daughter.
On Jan. 29, sometime between 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., her house was raided, and she thinks it’s likely a ring of thieves is responsible for taking the long list of items ranging from a large, widescreen TV and jewelry to her spare car key.
Vasquez said there were also a number of odd items taken; toilet paper, Gatorade, Lunchables, fake jewelry, vegetable oil and candy top the list.
But, while some of stolen items are slightly humorous, the crime left her scared for the safety of her daughter, her home and herself.
“I feel disgusted that someone was in my room, in my child’s drawers looking through her stuff,” Vasquez said. “I’m supposed to be a grownup and now I’m like a kid again. They take every sense of security you have.”
Unfortunately, she’s not the only Liberty County resident dealing with these fears and frustrations.
“Daytime burglaries are still high,” Liberty County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Keith Moran said. “The numbers are staying up.”
Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas has also taken notice of the problem, saying many citizens are upset and scared. At the most recent city council meeting he spoke about his concern that the problem might involve organized efforts.
“We’re not seeing the items in the local pawn shops,” Thomas said.
Vasquez agreed and said she went to local pawn shops, looking for her missing items, including many sentimental pieces of jewelry, but didn’t find anything.
“I’m angry. Not just because they took my stuff, they violated me. They have put fear in me I now have to overcome,” she said.
Moran and Thomas both have focused efforts on increasing visible daytime patrols in areas prone to the problem, as well as encouraging people to engage in more vigilant neighborhood watch programs.
Moran said the initiative has already produced results.
“My guys have made some arrests and it seems to have helped,” Moran said. “We made arrests earlier this week.”
However, Vasquez said after repeated incidents in her neighborhood, she doesn’t feel safe and is moving to a different part of town.
“I’m a little bit disappointed that when a neighborhood has been robbed three times, no one has been caught,” she said.
Moran said in order to catch more thieves, residents need to be proactive, observant and work closely with police.
“Residents should create a list of serial numbers for their high value items. That’s the best lead for us,” he said.
He said the problem is definitely not just local and most surrounding counties are seeing similar numbers. Now he doesn’t believe that it is a highly organized crime ring, but rather just a few criminals working together to move large items, such as big screen TVs.
He encourages people to remain on the lookout and call 911 immediately if they see any suspicious activity.
 

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