WEATHERSFIELD - Township law enforcement officials are offering tips to residents about how to keep their possessions safe over the summer, following a string of area break-ins last month.
Weathersfield police Capt. Michael J. Naples Jr. said simple steps and a state of awareness can help prevent home thefts from happening.
"We've put up some handy tips on our Facebook site and our website," Naples said. "Even when you're out in your backyard, make sure your front doors are locked. Also, if you hear something out of the ordinary, call us."
Tribune Chronicle / Ashley Newman
A series of break-ins occurred in mid-June along three adjoining streets in Weathersfield, incuding Aspen Drive, Morris Lane and Woodland Trail. Above, three of the burglaries happened along Aspen Drive. Police are in the process of following a new lead in the case.
Seven sheds were burglarized along the adjoining Morris Lane, Aspen Drive and Woodland Trail early on the morning of June 15, according to police reports.
Items such as lawn mowers, weed cutters, tool boxes and snow blowers were stolen.
According to officials, several leads were recently passed along to police and they are currently following up on them.
Each residence on these adjoining streets had a shed broken into:
2598 Morris Lane
2618 Morris Lane
2665 Morris Lane
2795 Woodland Trail
2712 Aspen Drive
2731 Aspen Drive
2741 Aspen Drive
"Over the weekend, we were advised by some people and given some names of potential suspects," Naples said. "There were some other communities that had some similar crimes."
Naples did not reveal the location of the additional burglaries, but he indicated sheds were broken into around the same time as the incidents in Weathersfield.
"We are in the process of investigating those new leads," Naples said.
Tina Honaker, who lives along Woodland Trail, said her husband noticed the shed in the backyard had a door open when he left for work that morning.
"He got up around 6:30 in the morning," Honaker said. "There was a neighborhood garage sale the next day and he thought maybe I was in the shed and just forgot to close the door. He called me later from work and asked me if I had been in there and I said 'no.'"
After taking a look, Honaker found the lock had been picked, and a snow blower along with various tools were missing.
"We have a house alarm and we're going to do what our neighbor across the street did by getting our shed hooked up to the alarm," Honaker said. "What else can you do, except live in fear?"
Similarly, Aspen Drive resident Michael Genova glanced out his kitchen window about 6:30 a.m. and saw his shed in the backyard with a door propped open.
"I walked out and noticed a couple items were missing, along with some tire tracks and indentations or pressures in the grass, because there was still dew out," Genova said.
He then noticed tire tracks leading to a neighbor's shed.
"I looked over there and saw his shed was propped open as well," Genova said. "I let the neighbors know about it. Unfortunately, he wasn't home, but when he came home he found out that his lawn mower and weed cutter had been stolen as well."
Genova, who estimates a little less than $500 in stolen property, contacted Weathersfield police.
"Officers went out and interviewed each victim and took statement from everyone," Naples said.
Another victim was Mai Sayej of Aspen Drive, who said approximately $5,000 in lawn equipment and tools was stolen from the family's shed.
"My neighbor came early in the morning and asked us to look at our shed because the door was open," Sanej said. "She told us there had been robberies in the neighborhood and to go check."
Sanej said she had to wait for her husband to get home from work before they knew exactly what was stolen.
"They took everything," Sanej said. "Lawn mower, pressure washer, weed cutter, big wood saw, jack for a car, tables and chairs, a snow-blower, two boxes of tools, rechargable drills ... everything. We're waiting on the returns from the insurance."
According to Sanej, crime has never been a factor in the Aspen Drive area.
"We used to just leave the garage door open and sleep all night," Sanej said. "We never had a problem. Everybody knows everybody and you wouldn't think a stranger would come on this street with it being a dead end.
"It's scary. I would have never thought this would happen," she said.
Genova agreed the break-ins were a wake up call.
"You definitely feel violated, like your security has been really jeopardized," Genova said. "I mean, I have a home security system on my house, but you feel like you had some kind of intrusion when something like this happens on your property. That is your domain."
Genova and his wife also have young children in the home, which he said makes it especially scary.
"To have someone who would do something like that in the middle of the night, you never know what people are capable of doing," Genova said. "It definitely heightens our awareness and puts you a little more on guard. I check outside in the middle of the night more often now just to see if you have any activity or anything, whereas before you never would."
Officials with the Weathersfield police said that kind of heightened awareness can prevent these crimes from happening.
"Someone in the neighborhood did hear something that night," Naples said. "Another person said they noticed a suspicious car around the area. That's why it's important to let police know when you hear or see anything out of the ordinary."
Naples did note incidents of breaking-and-entering are down across the area.
"We haven't had anything like this in a while," Naples said. "Burglaries in general are down as of June 1 from the previous year. Still, we've really stressed to our residents if they hear something, make a call. Even if you don't think much of it at the time, it could prevent this kind of thing."