Warminster Police Reports 'Significant Uptick' in Home Burglaries
Police Chief Michael Murphy said that the intruders have been looking for jewelry to quickly sell and turn into cash.
According to Warminster Police Chief Michael Murphy, Warminster and surrounding communities have seen a significant uptick in daytime, home burglaries since November 2011. Murphy puts the number for Warminster at around two dozen incidents, reported in neighborhoods throughout the entire township.
"It's been happening all over, not just Warminster," said Murphy. "It looks like it's related to the uptick in drug use we've also seen in the area. The suspects are taking property that an be easily turned into cash, which is then used to purchase drugs."
Murphy said that the majority of the invasions have occurred between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. While the burglaries have been committed by multiple, independent suspects, the methods are similar. A group of would-be robbers walk around a neighborhood until they come across a possible empty home. They knock on the front door, and if nobody answers, they enter through the back door.
Murphy requests township residents to lock their doors and remain vigilant for anything out of place in their neighborhoods and alert the police immediately if they see anything odd.
"We have been patrolling the neighborhoods, using plainclothes detectives," said Murphy. "But the residents are our best eyes and ears. They know instinctiely when something is not quite right."
A significant amount of arrests have been made, Murphy said, particularly two people in a suspected three-man group. The police do not plan to release their names until the third suspect is in custody.
"We don't want to see that third person disappear as soon as we identify his accomplices," said Murphy.
The main target for the thieves has been valuable jewelry. The proliferation of gold shops in the area has made the transition from property to cash much easier. The most recent valuation, as reported by goldprice.org, puts the figure at almost $1,750 per ounce.
"We've recovered a significant amount of stolen property from the gold shops," said Murphy. "The suspects do not need proof that they actually own the objects they are selling, just personal identification so the shops know who they are buying from. There have been plenty of other valuable objects, including laptops, iPads, in one case a handgun, that have been passed over for the jewelry."