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Bergen County Residents On Alert Following String Of Burglaries

Surveillance footage shows a suspect in a burglary spree in Bergen County. (Credit:CBS2)

Surveillance footage shows a suspect in a burglary spree in Bergen County. (Credit:CBS2)

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BERGEN COUNTY, NJ (CBSNewYork) — Police in New Jersey are investigating a string of burglaries in five Bergen County towns, including four that have occurred in Leonia over the course of four days.

CBS 2’s Mark Morgan was in New Jersey, where police are hoping to ease residents’ fears.

A surveillance camera caught a man attempting to break into a home in Leonia in broad daylight. The suspect was casually talking on his cell phone as he tried to break in.

Chief Jay Ziegler, of the Leonia Police Department, described the video, saying  “whoever he’s on the cell phone with is probably working in conjunction with him, probably very close to the crime scene, in the street, doing the watching for him.”

The video is evidence in the latest in a string of burglaries that have taken place in Englewood, Fair Lawn, Tenafly, Demarest and Leonia.

As the crime spree continues, concern is growing among residents.

“I’m very concerned and scared, we don’t want any problems,” said Dr. Meena Shah of Leonia.

The crimes present a new problem in a normally safe part of New Jersey.

“Things like that normally don’t happen in the 25 years we’ve been here. I can recall only one other burglary on the street, that’s all,” said Ken Tucker of Leonia.

The Leonia Police Department is urging homeowners to remember that nightfall comes earlier this time of year and that burglars often look for a house that is dark and appears empty.

Chief Ziegler advised residents to keep their homes well lit throughout the day.

“Leave lights on in your house, if you don’t want to leave them on for the duration of the day invest in some timers,” he said.

Frances Migliaccio decided to take further precautions.

“I am having somebody tomorrow to put in an alarm. I live alone, and I want to make sure nothing is going to happen,” she said.

And Kathleen Trubig Bonk has decided to take security into her own hands. Six months ago she purchased a shotgun to protect herself and her home.

“It’s in my bedroom and you know all you have to do is hear ‘chick-chick’ and you’re gonna leave,” said Bonk, alluding to the sound that a gun makes when it is cocked.

Police hope that surveillance video will lead to an arrest, but until that happens Bergen County residents will have to keep their doors locked and their eyes open.

Chief Ziegler added that the most important thing for homeowners to remember is to always report suspicious persons and vehicles to the police immediately.

What will you be doing to keep your home safe this holiday season? Let us know in our comment section…