Reporting John Montone
NEW YORK (CBS 2/1010 WINS) — A series of burglaries had a city neighborhood on edge Monday night.
At least nine apartments in Chelsea have been hit over the past two weeks. Police said the thieves are still on the loose and are likely to strike again.
Police said 29-year-old Eddie Tavarez may be behind the string of burglaries.
“It’s not safe. There were years we would leave the front door open, the front door coming into the building open and unfortunately we can’t do that no more. It’s very unsafe,” resident Judy Rivera told CBS 2′s Kathryn Brown.
Investigators believe Tavarez is connected with at least 10 burglaries in the area since Sept. 1.
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They said he targets apartments whose occupants are not home, breaks in through a window or fire escape and steals cash, cell phones and electronics, including several laptop computers.
“I just heard about it now. I’m a little disturbed,” said resident Linda Morand.
At least one of the victims was at home — with her baby — when the suspect broke in. Ann Sewell said the thief climbed up her fire escape to reach his target.
“The woman heard him, she’s young. She heard him, and she gave a description to the police and he didn’t take anything and he just quickly went out the door and ran away,” Sewell said.
Police have stepped up patrols in Chelsea since the crime spree began.
On Monday they distributed “wanted” posters with Tavarez’s picture.
And community activists — along with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn — passed out fliers on the street, warning residents to be on alert.
“We’ve had incidents on the West Side where we’ve done fliering like this and neighborhood people have gotten involved. It worked incredibly well,” Quinn said.
Most of the break-ins have happened away from the busy avenues and on quieter side streets. So far, police said they don’t have any surveillance video to work with.
But they’re hoping that this picture helps them track down Tavarez.
Police haven’t said whether they believe all of the Chelsea burglaries are related.