A handful of burglaries, many of which have taken place north of Lake Street, have some Maywood homeowners alarmed and questioning the police’s handling of the crimes.
Two area homeowners who recently moved into a property on the 400 block of North 3rd Avenue, said their home was burglarized yesterday evening. The couple, who preferred to remain anonymous, was gone for most of the day, returned to discover that several items were missing. They said the police came to the house after it happened, but haven’t spoken with detectives since then.
“It seems like they were pretty busy yesterday,” one of them said. “From what it sounds like, there have been a few in this area … It’s a bummer that so many have been occurring around here. It would be nice to know that, since it’s known that they’re occurring, something would be done about them. It took the police a long time to get here.”
According to sources, the recent outbreak of burglaries has caused some discomfort among residents, particularly in North Maywood — with some insisting the burglaries are not typical.
Maywood Police Chief Valdimir Talley, however, said the rate of burglaries in the village is not necessarily higher than normal around this time of the year. The summer, he said, usually brings an uptick in the prevalence of burglaries; but this summer hasn’t necessarily been worse than what is typical. In July, there were five residential burglaries and one garage burglary — about average for the summer months, Talley said.
Talley also emphasized that the recent burglaries aren’t all related to each other and that his officers have taken some suspects into custody.
“We had two occur at one time and another one last night, but for the most part, they’re isolated. We do have our investigators looking at two different groups of suspects that have been probably committing burglaries around multiple communities,” he said. “We’re working with those communities, in addition to looking at those burglaries that have happened within our own community as well.”
On July 27, police arrested Michael Hall, a resident of Sugar Grove, after he broke into a home on the 1600 block of South 17th Avenue. Hall, however, shouldn’t be associated with the burglaries that happened in the village recently, Talley noted.
“That case wasn’t a burglary, that was home invasion. That individual, from my understanding, had a disabled vehicle on the interstate and walked up from the interstate while under the influence of a drug or narcotic and broke into a residence, holding the occupants hostage. They were able to call 911 and we responded, subduing him. Nothing was taken from the residence,” he said.
Talley said that residents play a part in deterring burglars, particularly those who thrive on homeowners who may let their guards down during the summertime.
“In the summer months, people go on vacation and they don’t always prepare, so that’s something we’ll have to make a better effort on. I don’t know how the police can emphasize how, if you go on vacation, you should make sure people regularly come and monitor your properties at all hours; even at odd hours.”
Talley said burglars are attracted to predictability. He said if they see a pattern of behavior or occurrences that indicate that a homeowner is likely away from the home for an extended period of time, the home becomes a particularly attractive target.
“Robbery is a confidence crime,” Talley said. “Normally, people are afraid to break into a structure, so they won’t try it unless they feel comfortable that they won’t get [caught].”
Talley said he recommends homeowners install security systems, even cameras, in and around their properties to not only preempt burglaries, but to help the police in catching the culprits if burglaries happen.
“Home cameras are an asset to the police, because they can pick up burglars and allow us to solve crimes more rapidly,” he said.
Esteban Gutierrez does, in fact, have a security system installed at his home on the 300 block of North 4th Avenue. While the system didn’t deter someone from breaking into the property, roughly three weeks ago, while his wife was away at the grocery store; it may very well have prevented another instance of theft.
While at the store, Gutierrez’s wife got signal that the alarm system of their home had gone off. She returned to the home to discover a police officer standing outside after having been alerted by the alarm system. It was the third break-in at the residence since the Gutierrez family moved into the home in 2013, with all of the break-ins occurring in the summer.
“The officer sent my wife into the house by herself and then when she had gone inside, the officer called for reinforcements,” he said. “I think that was very poor handling of the situation by the police.”
Gutierrez said his wife discovered that nothing was missing, but the idea that she was in such a vulnerable situation is disconcerting. He said he’s tried several times to contact the officer who filed the report, but has not received a response. He said Talley, however, did stop by his home while he and his wife were out and left his number.
“He wrote down on the card for us to please give him a call. I appreciate he took the time to stop by. That’s encouraging. I haven’t called him yet, though; but that’s more on me than it is on him,” Gutierrez said. “I have it on my to-do list..” VFP
This post has been updated to reflect the fact that one of the sources preferred to remain anonymous.
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