Two homes -- one on Colgate Court, another on Roland Place -- were recently broken into by a person who took jewelry from the master bedroom, say Hazlet Police.
The incidents happened just days after two other similar incidents on nearby Virginia Ave on June 4 and Lafayette Drive on May 31. In both of those cases, someone pried open a window and stole thousands of dollars worth of jewelry and cash.
"We're looking to see if there is a pattern and a connection with all these burglaries," said Hazlet Police Det. Lt. Charles McBride Wednesday. "We're starting to put a profile together of the type of person who may be involved in this."
Undercover officers in unmarked cars are stepping up patrols in the neighborhoods near the high school, where the break-ins have occurred, and will be especially alert for people walking alone, with perhaps a backpack. "They're going to stop and question you if you look suspicious," he said.
On the afternoon of Friday, June 8, a homeowner living on Colgate Court, which is across from the Middle Road School, called police to report his back window had been pried open, and a jewelry box had gone missing from the master bedroom. The resident said he could not be sure when it had disappeared, only that it must have been in the past two weeks. The value of the stolen jewelry was undetermined, according to McBride.
On Saturday June 9, a homeowner left his home on Roland Place, off Lynn Boulevard, for an hour. When he returned around 5:45 p.m., he saw that the garage's side window had been pried open, and the lock on the garage entrance door had smashed off using a tool from the homeowners unlocked shed. A jewelry box containing $1,800 worth of jewelry had been taken.
As officers continue their investigation, McBride said he'd like to remind residents to call police if they note anyone suspicious in their neighborhoods. Callers can be anonymous if they wish to be. The Hazlet Police Dept. phone number is 732-264-6565.
He also said that most burglars are in and out in a quick amount of time -- within minutes. "The bedrooms are where they go first because they know that is where people keep their jewelry, in a case."
The high price of gold and the availability of gold buying merchants makes jewelry theft especially attractive to thieves. Homeowners should take a look at their homeowner policies and learn what percentage of jewelry value is covered in the case of theft, and realize that without proof of appraisal, they may not even be reimbursed at all. Storing jewels in a safe deposit box or floor mounted safe are good ways to thwart thieves, McBride said.
Also, audible alarm systems are effective deterrents, and alarms that send signals to the police department will bring officers to your home within minutes, he said.