Crime Wave Has Now Hit More Than 20 Homes, With Jewelry The Main Target

WAYNE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A suburban New Jersey community that is no stranger to being terrorized by burglars has come under siege once more. Homeowners are begging for help and answers, even after surveillance video caught the thieves in action.

Police officers arrived on the scene in Wayne on Wednesday night and searched for clues. It was the latest in a string of burglaries that is showing no signs of ending.

“They went through basically everything, a lot of stuff out of drawers,” one victim told CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey.

The incident followed a similar episode at another house in Wayne on Tuesday night. In that instance, burglars pushed through an outside door and then kicked in another door. The items swiped included laptops, jewelry, cash, diamonds and pearl necklaces.

Since late April, police have been tracking at least two different groups. Police said more than 20 houses have been hit by the burglars, who target bedrooms and jewelry, which is then turned into a big payoff.

“Jewelry is being sold at about $1,500 an ounce now,” said Wayne Police Capt. James Clarke.

Clarke said the burglary surge may be related to risk and reward.

“Guys may have been dealing dope. The penalties may have been more severe, burglaries less so. And of course the reward, $1,500 an ounce, quick cash,” he said.

The suspects have been making quick getaways and neighbors said they are on edge.

“It makes me a nervous wreck. You know it makes me really nervous. I’ve started to really pay attention,” said Carol Kaufmann, a neighbor of one of the victims.

police said the search will continue for the thieves that struck Wednesday night. Even if they are caught, there is at least one more group of burglars police and homeowners said they still have to worry about.

Wayne police are working with the Passaic County prosecutor and sheriff’s offices to create a task force to merge forces in hopes of ending this crime spree.

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