Search for Chestnut Hill burglars

CHESTNUT HILL - December 18, 2008 - But, for the past few months, it's also been home base for a burglary ring of people who breaking into homes looking to strike gold.

So much so, the burglary rate there has soared, up 40% from this time last year.

Police Lt. Michael Kopecki is leading the search for a burglary ring that has pulled of 30 break-ins in the last two months. The same modus operandi each time: Forced entry through a rear door or window during daylight hours when no one's at home, and going straight for the jewelry.

"You feel violated, invaded. Intruded upon," said one victim who did not want her name used.

The burglars have hit on both sides of Germantown Avenue. The small homes, as well as the mansions, on cul-de-sacs and busy streets are hit between 10 in the morning to 6 at night, the thieves getting in and out before many alarm systems can notify police.

"It's a little bit easier to get rid of, quick to grab," said Lt. Kopecki. "Some people may have that stuff, the expensive stuff, stored away. But, I think the cheaper things, it's grab and get rid of it nice and easy."

Police suspect the cash now being paid for gold is the driving force behind these crimes.

"They take the jewelry right away, melt it down, and get cash for it," said 14th District Commander Winton Singletary.

Police have increased their patrolling in cars and are using a plainclothes detail to try and catch this burglary ring.

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