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Nine Home Burglaries Reported Over Weekend

Police Conduct Surveillance Of Targeted Areas; Authorities Believe Incidents May Be Related

by Suzette Staulker, 97Mar20

Authorities are investigating nine home burglaries which occurred last weekend in Westfield, in which money and valuables were taken while the homeowners were away. The incidents, which may be related, are the latest of approximately 24 break-ins which have occurred in town since the beginning of the year, according to police.

Lieutenant Bernard F. Tracy of the Westfield Police Department’s Detective Bureau confirmed that the most recent burglaries occurred this past Friday, and Saturday. Two of the incidents took place on Shackamaxon Drive, while the others occurred on Hazel, Boynton and Lawrence Avenues, Clark Street, Seneca, Effingham and Norman Places. Items taken during the robberies included "mostly jewelry and money," he said.

Several other burglaries took place between March 10 and March 13 on Alden and Irving Avenues, on Cedar Street and on Frazee Court, but law enforcement officials do not feel there are strong similarities between these and the later incidents, according to Lieutenant Tracy. He noted, for example, that the weekday burglaries occurred during the afternoon, while the ones last weekend happened in the evening.

Because the latest burglaries all took place during a two-day period and some within close proximity to one another, Lieutenant Tracy said there was "a good possibility" the incidents are related. He added that the burglaries also had certain things in common, such as pillowcases having apparently been used to gather up valuables, as well as signs of forced entry. The lieutenant said in most of the instances, entry was gained either through windows or through side or rear doors.

Lieutenant Tracy said that a male suspect was seen exiting a home shortly before 9 p.m. on Lawrence Avenue on March 15 wearing a royal blue backpack which matched the description of one taken during an earlier incident on Shackamaxon Drive.

The suspect was described as being 5 feet, 8 inches tall and having a medium build, of unknown race, and wearing black clothing and a black ski cap, according to police. Westfield police and a K-9 unit supplied by the Union County Sheriff’s Office tracked the suspect to Highland Avenue, where it is believed he escaped in a car he had waiting for him.

Police are also investigating a report of a "suspicious vehicle" which was seen in the 800 block of Shackamaxon Drive on March 15, occupied by a white woman, possibly in her 40s, with red hair. The car was described as red, an older model, possibly a Ford Taurus, "which was not in very good condition," Lieutenant Tracy said.

"The Westfield Police Department requests the assistance of our citizens in reporting any suspicious people, vehicles or activity that they think is unusual," Lieutenant Tracy noted. He added that a group of Westfield detectives, in plainclothes and unmarked cars, have been "saturating" the areas where the incidents occurred, in order to respond as quickly as possible to any reports of criminal activity.

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08/06/97.

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