2012-02-11 / News

Police departments attacking break-ins

By Scott Rawdon

BALTIMORE – Several law enforcement agencies will meet to decide if some lake area burglaries are related. “We have had a total of ten burglaries,” said Baltimore Police Chief Michael Tussey. “Of these, nine were residences and one was a business. In the case of the residences, all had either a purse or wallet laying on a counter or table where it could be seen from a window.” He said most entries were made by forcing open a rear door although in several of the burglaries entrance was made through a window entry or a door inadvertently left unlocked.

Tussey said several agencies including the Fairfield and Perry county sheriff’s offices, and the Millersport, Somerset, and Baltimore police departments will meet to compare recovered evidence and discuss similarities in break-ins that have occurred in the various jurisdictions. “In to- tal, the number of possible linked break-ins in both counties could be almost 80,” he said.

“I think that there are similarities,” said Fairfield County Sheriff Dave Phalen, but said that he didn’t have enough facts gathered yet to make a determination for certain, hence the meeting that will take place at noon on Friday.

In the meantime, Phalen suggested that residents in the aforementioned communities keep doors and windows locked, keep an eye on each other’s properties, and never hesitate to call authorities to report any suspicious activity. “We would rather go out 10 times on nothing than miss a break-in,” he said. Generally, Phalen said people looking for money to purchase drugs are involved in these types of burglaries.

“Knock on wood, we haven’t had any break-ins this year,” said Millersport Police Chief John Shirk. However, for those reported in other areas, “at face value, there are similarities.” But, like Phalen, he wasn’t ready to say for certain until the agencies meet. Even though Millersport has avoided break-ins, Shirk said his department is still taking measures to address the issue. “You want to take a proactive approach,” he said.

On a related issue, Shirk said Millersport will soon offer a free mass notification service for anyone interested via a phone text, email, or both whenever the police department makes an announcement. These announcements could include anything from notice of an accident or emergency situation, to notifications of village meetings. The only charge, if any, would be from the phone service provider if the provider charges per text message. “The (Los Angeles Police Department) is using it right now,” he said. Shirk said signing up is easy and he will present the system to village council members at their new meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 14.

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