Five homes were attempted on the evening of November 18; police believe the same suspect entered three of them, all via unsecured windows.
By Matt Skoufalos
Haddonfield Police are investigating a series of burglaries that occurred in the borough on the evening of November 18.
Three homes were successfully entered, and at another two, police discovered signs of attempted entry via unlocked doors and windows. The residences are located in the 200 and 300 blocks of Rhoads Avenue, the 200 block of Hawthorne Avenue, the 600 block of Maple Avenue and the 400 block of Beechwood Avenue. Victims reported missing electronics, handbags, some cash and credit cards.
Each of the incidents occurred while the homes were occupied, which has made police take special notice of behavior that might otherwise be described as cat burglary. On Beechwood Avenue, the suspect reportedly encountered a homeowner and then fled, which “shows that he [or she]is non-confrontational,” said Haddonfield Det. Sgt. Stephen Camiscioli.
Nonetheless, Camiscioli said, investigators believe these events are crimes of opportunity, and do not indicate that the neighborhood is at risk for a broader pattern of crime.
“It raises the stakes that these homes were occupied when they were entered,” he said, “but this is a one-night occurrence. We have no reason to believe we were targeted one way or another.”
Camiscioli said that warmer weather during the evening in question may have led homeowners to leave open more windows than usual, and perhaps forgot to secure them by the end of the day. But because the suspect moved on from homes that were secured and fled from an encounter with the homeowner, he said detectives do not believe the burglary suspect is dangerous.
As a matter of course in their investigation, police are conferring with other towns that have recently experienced burglaries—Moorestown and Evesham—which is typical intelligence-sharing practice, Camiscioli said.
“We communicate really well as a county, and inter-county as well,” he said. “We have nothing to pinpoint that it’s the same suspect.”
Camiscioli also noted that such burglaries tend to increase in the hours of 5 and 6 p.m. during the winter months. As a side-effect of daylight savings time, opportunistic criminals will take advantage of the earlier darkness while homeowners are still making their way back from work.
“We do have our share of property crime, but [Haddonfield] is a safe town,” he said. “Our guys are patrolling at night, and they do a great job. But we can’t be everywhere.”
As a word of advice, police are urging resident to make sure their homes and vehicles are secured, and asking neighbors to report suspicious activity.
“I think nosy neighbors get a bad rap sometimes,” Camiscioli said. “That’s the best thing. If you see something out of the ordinary, just call. Bother us. That’s what we’re here for.”
To report a tip to police, residents are asked to call 9-1-1 for urgent matters and 856-429-3000 for non-emergencies.