Updated 10/21/2010 at 8:17am

MAPLEWOOD, N.J. (CBS 2 / WCBS 880) — The warning is out: lock your windows and doors, and remember to set the alarm.

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The hunt is on for the suspects behind a rash of burglaries targeting homes in the last few weeks, and police are asking for the public’s help in tracking down the thieves.

Nervous neighbors said the break-ins all occurred within a three-block radius. Some were burglarized, while others were simply attempted burglaries – depending on who had an alarm and who didn’t.

A sliced open screen door and a busted window pane were the tell-tale signs of a break-in at Jack Krim’s home in Maplewood’s east end. It was one of 10 break-ins in the neighborhood according to police – though residents said there have been 12 – all in just the last two weeks.

“Such a number of break-ins, so close to each other both in proximity and time,” Krim told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis.

Krim and his wife were at work, and their daughters were in school, when their home was burglarized.

A thief using a familiar M.O. crept toward the back door, breaking a small window next to the deadbolt to get inside. Then, he stole whatever was easy to grab, including pocket change and something special to 9-year-old daughter Alexandra.

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“They took my laptop, a pink, flowery, small laptop,” she said.

With so many working parents, the are of this neighborhood has a large number of vulnerable homes.

One woman was afraid to give her name, but said her house was almost robbed. Again a back door was targeted, with the screen ripped and a window broken – but nothing was taken.

“They were scared off, thank God, by our alarm, and so they didn’t actually get anything,” she said. “But it was still pretty scary, you know, because you don’t want to feel violated that way.”

The break-ins have become the talk among neighborhood walkers and frightened homeowners, with each wondering whose house will be next.

“Well, it’s unfortunate. It’s a great neighborhood, and people are usually pretty good at looking out for one another,” resident Gary Sachs said.

Maplewood Police have stepped up patrols, mindful that each of the break-ins have happened during the day.

Several of the neighbors have installed alarms since the break-ins, while others are thinking about guard dogs.

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Maplewood Police are asking anyone with information to give them a call.