NEW YORK (CBS 2) – Fire escapes can be life savers during an emergency, but recently burglars have been using them in Greenpoint, Brooklyn for a quick payday.
Police said unknown suspects entered apartments via fire escapes on Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint on Dec. 3, and got away with laptops, memory cards and a camera.
“It worries me,” Williamsburg resident Joan Reilly told CBS 2′s Sean Hennessey. “[It] makes me wonder if I locked my windows before I left the house.”
Police said unlocked windows have provided the perfect opportunity for perpetrators.
“Nothing was broken, nothing was smashed. They didn’t damage anything. It was like there’s something sitting, they found a window open, threw it open and went in,” said Tom Burrows of the Community Board 1 Public Safety Committee.
Chloe Liederman, who lives in the area where at least three apartments have been hit in the past two weeks, admitted she hasn’t kept her fire escape window locked.
“It’s scary,” Liederman said.
David Boehm, a 20-year NYPD veteran now working at Security USA, said a window that’s been locked or has bars is important. In addition, people should not be storing anything on the fire escape.
“People need to be proactive with the situation,” Boehm said. “The one thing you don’t want to do is advertise and if you’re using it to store items; you’re advertising that this window is open often.”
Angela Mercatante is a landlord who makes locked windows a mandate.
“They need to have the fire escape windows closed,” Mercatante said. “A lot of these kids come from other states. They don’t know what it’s like in the cities.”
Security experts said it was the season for break-ins. With gifts being stored in most homes, experts said, thieves would work a little harder to get to the bounty they know is inside.