Police Believe 1 Man Has Become Quite Adept At Gaining Access To Homes

MORRIS TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Air conditioning is a summer necessity, but criminals are turning window units into an all-access pass to local homes.

One New Jersey community is now on alert for the so-called “A.C. bandit.”

While A.C. units are summertime mainstays and help keep the hot weather out, in Morris Township, they’ve been letting the criminals in.

WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reports

“It’s very disconcerting that you’re afraid to leave your house,” Beverley Puglisi told CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider on Tuesday night.

Four homes in sparsely populated neighborhoods have been hit since June 11 and the way in is always the same, police said.

“Pushing in the air conditioner, open the front door, open the back door, going through the house and items taken. More than likely it is the same person,” Morris Township Police Department Acting Chief John McGuinness said.

One victim said her home was broken into in broad daylight. She said the burglar climbed up the wall, pushed in the A.C. unit and then entered through the window.

Authorities, however, said they have no witnesses yet.

The suspect has been stealing laptops, jewelry and televisions. He rummages through the houses and then escapes through the front door — in at least one case, leaving it wide open, police said.

Now, police are getting residents together, asking for help and stressing safety.

“We keep our lights on, we have dogs,” Kathy Ferguson said.

Now that they have fingerprints and DNA from the four crime scenes, police want to stop this so-called “A.C. Bandit” before he invades again.

Police recommend securing your air conditioning unit using a method called “pinning.” It locks the air conditioner into windows and prevents it from being easily pushed out.

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