LEONIA, NJ (CBSNewYork) — Police in New Jersey are investigating a slew of daytime home invasions that have residents in several communities on edge.
Since last Sunday, houses in Leonia, Fair Lawn, Tenafly and Englewood have been hit. Police say they’ve stolen electronic equipment and cash.
Police in Leonia are circulating a surveillance photo of the man they consider a likely ringleader.
“The entire time he’s on our videotape he’s on a cell phone so it’s possible he’s talking to someone nearby someone in a car, possibly a lookout,” said Leonia Police Sgt. Scott Tamagny.
Tamagny says a 68-year-old man was home when suspects broke into his house on Linden Terrace in Leonia. The homeowner confronted them and they took off, fleeing in a tan-colored sedan.
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“With the highway so close to us it’s easy escape routes also,” said Tamagny.
“I’m very concerned about it,” said one woman who lives nearby. “Especially since they don’t seem to be concerned if people are home, they just come right in.”
Because the days are shorter, many homes are left in the dark earlier in the day making them an easy target for crooks.
“If you come home and you find your front door open or of it looks like there has been a burglary, don’t go in. Call 911 immediately,” said Tamagny.
Jim Orlando, who lives on Linden Terrace where the most recent burglary took place, says thanks to the good suspect image, this burglars’ days of freedom are hopefully numbered. But he also says he knows even if one band gets busted, there will be others.
“It can happen to anyone at anytime,” he said.
Tamagny says there is a number of things you can do to make it look like you’re home even when you’re not, like putting your lights on timers, making sure there’s no mail in the mailbox and always locking your windows and doors.
Police say at least four burglars are involved in the serial home invasions and think all the burglaries took place between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Tamany suggests homeowners call their local police before going away for the holidays.
“We have a vacation list where we know people are out of town we’ll keep an extra check on their residence,” he said. “Burglars will target a house where it looks unoccupied.”
If you have any information about these burglaries, call police.
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