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Pascack Valley Daily Voice serves Emerson, Hillsdale, Montvale, Park Ridge, River Vale, Washington Township, Westwood & Woodcliff Lake

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DV Pilot police & fire

‘Motorcycle burglar’ on the loose, so follow these prevention tips

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: He’s called “the motorcycle burglar” and has been seen near burglarized homes in Wyckoff, Franklin Lakes, Oakland and Teaneck. A woman surprised him and he sped off — with her jewelry.

“Responding police officers confirmed that the home had been entered by prying open a rear window,” Wyckoff Police Chief Benjamin C. Fox said.


With many people on vacation, Fox said, residents need to keep an eye out for suspicious people or vehicles in their neighborhood — particularly between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., when nearly all of the recent break-ins have occurred.

“They should be especially attentive to a motorcycle driving slowly through their streets,” he said. If you see one, call police immediately.

You can take other steps to protect your home, all of which are based on sound fundamentals.

For one thing, burglars always take the path of least resistance. They will avoid having to take time or risk being seen. So their “work” becomes systematic.

Understanding THEIR logic helps you.

They look for soft targets — those that don’t have obvious signs of security, of course, but also those that are obscured by objects. They will then spend no more than a minute’s time trying to get in. If they can’t, they’ll move on. If they can, they’re out of the house inside of three minutes.

Three-quarters of those who do get in have broken a window, jimmied a door, or forced an entrance open. Fox and his fellow police chiefs in Bergen County say these tips work:

Make sure all doors and windows are secure , especially in back; use window stops (you can always pop them out when you’re home on a comfortable day);

Clear windows and doors of any bushes, trees or shrubs so that you, your neighbors — and, if necessary, police — can see them;

Deadbolts are a no-brainer, but only if the screws are at least a couple of inches long. Otherwise, Snooki could kick your door in;

If you don’t have motion detector lighting outside, get it. If you do, make sure it’s working properly. DO NOT have it close enough to the ground that someone could unscrew the bulb;

Lock away ladders, other types of boosters or tools lying around the outside of the house;

Make sure your house number can be seen clearly from the street at any time of day, just in case you need police, fire or ambulance service;

Set lights, televisions and radios on timers ;

DO NOT KEEP VALUABLES
in obvious places : The first, and sometimes only, destination of any burglar is the master bedroom;

Inventory your valuables with photos or videos, put the disc in a safe place — and, please, make sure you use an innocuous label (“Billy’s Birthday” will do just fine). It could help police but also comes in handy when you notify your insurance company;

Lock your car , even when it’s in your driveway, and don’t keep valuables inside. This is one that confounds police: A majority of incidents involve expensive electronics and other items left in an UNLOCKED vehicle;

If you’re going away for awhile : (a) notify police headquarters to put your home on the vacant list; they‘ll be sure to drive by now and then (b) arrange for deliveries to be suspended or picked up.

You’ve probably figured this one already, but one of the most tried-and-true burglar deterrents has four legs — and it’s not your coffee table. Could be a Pomeranian (Remember: A burglar doesn’t want to spend time or be noticed).

If you have elderly parents, make them aware of “diversion” burglaries . That’s when one or two people convince a senior of a utility company or TV service visit. Make sure you know — and your folks know — that you shouldn’t allow anyone into your home without 100 percent certainty of who they are and where they come from.

If they are genuine, they will understand if you call a particular utility or even the police — who will not be bothered in the least, Washington Township Police Chief Randy Ciocco said.

Fox, his fellow chief in Wyckoff, agreed.

Citizens “should never be uncomfortable in contacting the police for something that they deem is suspicious,” Fox said. Police would “rather check hundreds of calls that are unfounded than have someone not call us about something that turns out to be important.”

Finally, here’s one you might not have thought of, courtesy of New Milford Police Chief Frank Papapietro:

“Burglars use social networking sites to determine when a home will be empty.  Do not announce your day’s activities on those sites.  A simple entry such as “going shopping with the kids” tells a burglar that there may be an easy target available.

“If you want to share your day’s events with your cyber friends, do it at the end of the day.”




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