WEST ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A disturbing pattern of break-ins has been plaguing Long Island, with houses being targeted in the middle of the day when no one is home.
And as CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Wednesday, the crooks have gotten through some very tight spaces, including, possibly, a dog door.
The only authorized user of the dog door at one home is Skipper, a German short-haired pointer. But the fact that a burglar may have squeezed through it astonished homeowner Tom Dooley.
He believes his doors and windows were locked on Monday, so Skipper’s door must have been the burglar’s way in.
“The dog entry and exit is big enough for somebody like yourself could get through,” Dooley said to Gusoff. “That’s possible, how they got in.”
Dooley’s Islip home is among a dozen broken into on the South Shore of Suffolk County in recent weeks. Police said burglars are ripping off empty houses in daylight from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.
And police believe the burglars have a method to confirm that no one is home.
They do so “by possibly looking for some person named John; some lost dog, something like that. They ask a seemingly innocent question, but what they’re looking for is a house where no one answers the door,” said Suffolk County Police Inspector Robert Brown.
The burglars have tried some other creative ways of gaining entry, such as unlocked second-floor windows, cut screens and pried-open sliding doors.
Two homes on John Mulroy’s block were recently targeted. The spike in burglaries from West Islip to East Islip has residents on the lookout.
“You’re always looking to see, ‘Hey, who are you? How are you?’” said John Mulroy of West Islip.
“I have an alarm system on my house. My neighbor…he has a camera system. I watch things,” homeowner Larry Murphy told WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs. “It pays to be cautious.”
The head of the West Islip Chamber of Commerce has told worried neighbors to make their homes less of target.
“Be very alert,” said chamber president Nancy Donahue. “Make sure you secure your home.”
The thieves have repeatedly gotten away with small valuables such as watches and jewelry, yet no one has been able to provide a description of a suspect or car, Gusoff reported.
One possible clue is that one burglar may be small enough to fit through that dog door.
Suffolk police said they are also stepping up patrols in the area.
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