2002-12-14 / Front Page

House Break-Ins Plague West End

By Howard Schwach

By Howard Schwach

When a west end woman (who asked The Wave that she not be identified), sleeping in her bed, heard somebody going through her bedroom at 6 a.m. last weekend, she thought that it was her husband.

The last thing she expected was a burglar going through her dresser drawers, looking for money.

That, however, according to police sources, is exactly what she found when she awoke and asked what was happening.

The intruder quickly put a pillow over her head and told her in no uncertain terms to be quiet or she would be killed. He asked her where the money was hidden and she told him that all of the money in the house was in her purse downstairs in the kitchen.

The burglar, who remains unidentified, went to the kitchen, took $400 from the purse, and quietly left the house. She was unable to identify him to police detectives.

The woman’s husband told The Wave that it was a frightening event for his wife.

"She is doing the best that she can under the circumstances," he said. "The guy must have been casing the house and saw me leave, or he had the house marked in advance."

He credited the police with a "quick and thorough response."

"They treated us with feeling," he said. "They were empathetic and sympathetic."

This west end woman was only one of the homeowners who have been victimized by burglars over the past several weeks. In fact, according to police sources, there have been six home invasions in the west end of Rockaway recently.

While police officials declined to discuss the specifics of each of the six incidents in Rockaway, Sergeant Nappo, who commands the 100 squad, issued the following statement.

"In response to recent burglaries, the 100 Squad is reminding all area residents to ensure that all doors and windows of the homes are properly locked and secured at all times, particularly during the overnight period. We further request the public be observant for any suspicious persons or activity and to contact police regarding either."

Nappo said that residents who have something to report should call 911. Those who have information relative to the recent burglaries should call the 100 Squad at 318-2222. The Police Officer Blasi is assigned the case. In addition, residents may contact the Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800- 577-TIPS at any time regarding suspicious activity around their homes.

Police Officer Brian McCabe, the crime prevention officer for the 100 Precinct urges residents to become proactive about crime, particularly during the holiday season, when crimes of this type typically increase.

"It is a good idea to keep a checklist next to your front door," he says. "That can serve as a ‘to do’ list of things you should do before leaving your home, like locking all the doors, setting the alarm system and having a light on if you plan to be away after dark."

Although the burglary at the Belle Harbor residence came at a time when people were home, that is unusual, according to McCabe.

"It is a good idea to leave a radio or a television set on when you leave," he urges. "Give yourself some time to physically check all the doors and windows. You never know when somebody else in the family has opened a door or window that you think is closed and locked."

The police also urge that you have strong lighting around your home and that your windows are not obscured by shrubbery so that burglars cannot hide nearby your windows while breaking into the house.

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