Ann Arbor police warn of numerous burglaries on the city's west side
At least 20 homes on Ann Arbor's west side have been burglarized since May by a thief or thieves who kick open back doors and cut window screens to get in during the day while the resident are at work, city police said.
City police issued an alert this week about the crime spree which detectives said is occurring in the neighborhood west of Main Street, north of Miller Road and east of Maple Road.
Detective Sgt. Pat Hughes said today that 13 or 14 of those burglaries are believed to be related.
Break-ins have occurred on Miner, Brookridge, Gott, Brooks, Bydding, Sunset, Red Oak, Summit, Spring, Fountain, Olden and Bending, according to a crime alert.
About 50 to 60 area residents gathered for a Neighborhood Watch meeting with police Thursday night, Hughes said.
The break-ins are taking place between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., and the method of entry has included kicking open back doors, pushing up window screens, entering unlocked doors and cutting window screens, Detective Sgt. Brian Jatczak said. The majority have been cut window screens - although in one case, a burglar even climbed to a second-story window to make entry. "We're not sure if it's an individual or a couple people," Hughes said. "They're picking doors to knock on, and if someone is home, they make up a fictitious story and leave. If no one is home, they kick the door or cut a screen to get in."
Items being stolen include laptop computers, jewelry and money, police said.
Jatczak said a suspicious person has been seen in the area around the time of a couple of the burglaries and may be involved. He was described as black, 18 to 25, with a thin to medium build, short afro, and facial hair on his chin. He was carrying a shoulder bag in one case and wearing a gold cross charm in another instance.
Police are asking residents to call to report any suspicious activity in the area and to make sure doors and windows are locked. "We don't normally see many break-ins in this area - it's a pretty quiet residential area," Jatczak said.
Anyone with information can call Ann Arbor police at (734) 794-6910.