Rash of burglaries in Chestnut Hill

July 13, 2009 8:30:24 PM PDT
It is one of Philadelphia's toniest neighborhoods, but it seems increasingly under siege.Robbers are learning the ins and the outs of Chestnut Hill, and they're taking full advantage.

Now, residents are getting phone alerts to warn them about the recent rash of burglaries.

"We've lived here for over 20 years, and we've never had anything like this," said Dorothy Binswanger of Chestnut Hill.

Among those who've been victimized, this much is becoming clear about the culprits: They're sophisticated.

Burglars broke into Binswanger's home in late May, entering through the second floor to avoid activating the alarm system on the first floor.

"They stole lots of silver and laptops and wallets and credit cards," Binswanger said.

The thieves seem to be very choosy about what they taqked.

"Being able to pick out silver from a lineup in the kitchen drawer, leaving behind stainless steel, taking the silver," said one resident, who did not want to be identified.

Police say the rash of burglaries has been a growing problem.

"It's happening all over, I mean not just in Chestnut Hill, butin Lower Germantown. Everywhere," said Capt. William Singletary of the Philadelphia Police.

Investigators say, clearly, the thieves know it is summer and people are going away on vacation. But, some victims are making it easy to fall prey.

"Everybody's going on vacation, and in their haste to go on vacation, some folks leave, they forget to put their alarms on," said Capt. Singletary.

In a number of cases, the thieves are simply kicking in doors and making off with the goods.

Among other tips, like activating alarm systems, police urge residents to have solid deadbolt locks and doors. They also recommend letting someone know you're going away.

In her case, at least, Binswanger was able to help police track down the culprits who burglarized her home, and she was able to get some of her stuff back. But, she remains very uneasy about the ongoing burglaries in Chestnut Hill.

"It's just very frustrating because it's a wonderful place to live."

Extra patrols have been put on the streets and police are asking residents to report anything that looks suspicious.

You can get the latest crime statistics from the Philadelphia Police by CLICKING HERE for the force's crime data mapping site.

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