Thursday, April 8, 2004

Wilder residents wary of burglars

4 home invasions have them on edge

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WILDER - Concerned residents here will hold a block-watch meeting this afternoon to discuss how to protect themselves after a handful of home-invasion burglaries.

"I used to feel very secure here," said Deloris Kennedy. "Now I keep the doors locked all the time. At 75, you can't protect yourself too well."

Kennedy lives on Frosty Court, a cul-de-sac where two homes were broken into as residents slept. There have been four home invasions since Jan. 16 in this Campbell County city of 2,600 residents.

The home invasions occurred:

• Jan. 16 in the 700 block of Johns Hill Road.

• March 6 in the 100 block of Frosty Court.

• March 14 in the 200 block of Three Mile Road.

• March 26 in the 100 block of Frosty Court.

Lt. Col. Jeff Dektas said that in each case, someone knocked in a door and grabbed wallets or purses left sitting out on a table or counter. Each home backed up to a wooded area, and the items were visible from large windows.

"We think they are grabbing the purses or wallets and running back into the woods," Dektas said. "We have found one purse and one wallet in wooded areas behind the homes targeted. All the cash was gone but everything else was recovered, including the credit cards."

A thief has confronted only one homeowner. Dektas said a woman was coming down the steps to walk her dog when she saw a man wearing a blue baseball cap in her home. The thief fled and the woman was too startled to give police a good description.

Another time, a red pickup truck was seen leaving the area.

Police have added patrols and paid officers overtime to walk the wooded areas of Wilder.

Dektas said police have two suspects but have not made any arrests.

The Wilder break-ins resemble break-ins in Fort Wright, Fort Mitchell and Maysville since last summer.

Most of the burglaries in those cities were in two-story houses near wooded areas, and the thieves entered through unlocked doors or by kicking in locked doors. The thieves took cash and left behind jewelry and credit cards.

Dektas said he is investigating whether the break-ins are connected, but hasn't found evidence to link all the crimes to one person or group.

"No one has been injured so far, but these types of home invasions can turn deadly quickly," he said. "We want to stop the people committing these crimes as quickly as possible."

There will be a block-watch meeting from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. today at the end of Frosty Court in Wilder. For information, call Wilder police at (859) 581-8863.


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