NORTH WOODMERE, N.Y. (CBS 2) — A strange pattern of burglaries has a Long Island neighborhood on edge. Crooks are targeting homes with safes, and carrying off prized valuables.
“People are in fear. They are in fear of their safety. They’re in fear of their possessions in their home,” one North Woodmere resident told CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff exclusively on Friday.
The homeowner is one of six who lost prized possessions when thieves entered his home and ripped out his safe.
“Sentimental value was priceless; monetary was a hardship, but it was not only myself, it was others,” he said.
In the last two months, Nassau County police say seven homes have been hit in North Woodmere; six of them had hidden and heavy safes stolen.
Burglars got in through windows but in some cases walked through doors, with no forceable entry and bypassing alarms.
Police said it’s a sophisticated operation.
“It does beg for the possibility that the individual has information about the interior of the house and the contents of the house,” Nassau County Police Chief Steven Skynecki said.
“Sounds like it’s an inside job by somebody, very disturbing,” added Richard Price, president of the North Woodmere Civic Association.
Police said they are looking at landscapers and other service companies that have access to homes in a neighborhood flooded from Hurricane Sandy that was filled with work crews.
“We are examining commonalities, what types of services are used by these people, if there is a common service,” Skynecki said.
They’ve also ramped up patrols and have urged residents to report suspicious activity and lock up. Locksmiths said it takes time, skill and strength to rip off a safe. One weighed 350 pounds, while others were bolted to floors.
“Obviously this is a well-orchestrated ring of burglars that know what they’re doing and they are terrorizing this community,” one North Woodmere homeowner said.
The burglars were caught on surveillance video both inside and outside of victims’ homes. Nassau police are examining that video and in the meantime are asking the public to call with any information.
Police said most of the burglaries occurred in the evening hours, so residents have been advised to leave on lights when they go out.
Anyone with information on the burglaries is urged to call CRIMESTOPPERS at 1-800-224-TIPS.
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