DYER | Police Chief David Hein discussed recent burglaries and offered crime prevention tips before a packed audience Thursday night.
Since Oct. 1 there have been four burglaries and one attempted burglary in the south end of town. Police believe the incidents are related. One of the burglaries and the burglary attempt were reported over the past weekend in the 3400-3500 block of Orchid Drive.
Police held Thursday’s meeting to provide information and also answer residents’ questions. According to Hein, investigators believe the perpetrators may be amateurs, given their modus operandi. In each instance thieves bypassed expensive electronics for jewelry.
“They’re confident they can get rid of the jewelry (quickly),” Hein said. But the fact that the stolen merchandise included costume jewelry, which may point to a lack of experience on the thieves’ part.
All incidents have taken place when the homeowners weren’t present. In two of the incidents the burglars took pillow cases from the home, which were presumably used to carry stolen items. Over the past year burglaries in Lake County’s jurisdiction have involved the theft of pillowcases, but at this point police do not know if Dyer’s incidents are related to the county’s, said Detective Corp. Michael Wenglarz.
Two of the incidences happened at homes next to the Longwood Golf Course in Illinois. Police have beefed up patrols and will continue to investigate leads on both sides of the state line, Hein said. At this point, none of the stolen items have been recovered. There have been no witnesses and police have no suspects or vehicle descriptions.
The rate of break-ins in Dyer is actually down this year, Hein said. The department recorded 22 last year. As of Wednesday, there have been 16 this year. On the other hand, “one is too many,” he said.
Residents peppered Hein and other officers, Wenglarz, Deputy Chief Troy Grady, Detective Cmdr. Joe Cinko, who also sits on the Town Council, and Officer Jerry Patrick, for safety and prevention tips. Some of the most important steps to take involve keeping doors locked and entranceways lighted, Hein said.
Police provided a handout of burglary/theft prevention tips. They emphasized that the best prevention involves neighborly cooperation. Dyer tried to organize a neighborhood watch program some years ago, and only one resident responded. Even an informal crime watch is useful, Hein said.
“You pretty much know the cars on your street,” he said. “If you see something unfamiliar or (suspicious), call us.”
Dyer detectives continue to seek leads and tips regarding the break-ins. The department’s nonemergency number is (219) 865-1163.