Amid a rash of house breaks in the area, local police departments are working diligently to protect residents and apprehend the suspects.  Several suspects have already been caught, and police are aggressively pursuing every possible lead to catch the rest.

According to Auburn Police, there have been thirty-seven (37) break-ins that are at different stages of investigation across seven towns since the beginning of July.  The Town of Auburn has experienced eight (8) breaks, Boylston has had four (4), Holden three (3), Millbury six (6), Sutton six (6), West Boylston has had nine (9) and the City of Worcester reported only one of this type.

Auburn Sergeant Detective Scott Mills said that almost all the breaks have occurred during overnight hours – usually after 3am – or when homeowners have been on vacation, making it  difficult to pinpoint the exact times of the crimes.  He went on to state, “Most of the entries have been through open windows or by cutting screens in open windows.”

What is troubling police about this rash of breaks is the number that have occurred while the victims are home sleeping, and several where there were dogs at home. Sgt. Mills says, “These guys are brazen and aren’t deterred by the usual things that deter these types of crimes like dogs and people being home.  That part of it is very concerning to us as investigators and police officers as the potential for violence is increased.”

Sgt. Mills added that the thieves are mostly grabbing wallets, pocketbooks, small electronics, cash and credit cards left out.  In one case, a suspect used a Warwick St. (Auburn) victim’s credit card just hours after the reported break-ins.  That suspect, Cristien Connors, was tracked down and arrested.  Auburn, Holden and Worcester Police were able to link Connors to an additional burglary in Holden.

“It is highly likely that Connors and his associates are responsible for a number of these breaks and forensic evidence collected at these scenes is being processed towards that end” said Sgt. Mills.

This weekend, Shrewsbury Detectives seized jewelry as part of a search warrant related to another group suspected of break-ins. Auburn Detectives were able to identify some of this jewelry as belonging to a victim from a break-in on Barnes St. back on July 13.  This group was the same one responsible for several burglaries in Millbury – one where a 12 week old puppy was taken and later reunited with its family – and and an unknown number of breaks in Shrewsbury.

One suspect from this second group has been arrested, and a warrant is out for the arrest of an accomplice.

In the one break in of this type in Worcester, surveillance footage yielded video of the suspects and a photo of the car they were using.  This third group has also been observed in the towns listed above during the hours that the crimes are believed to have been committed.  Several Police Departments are aggressively pursuing this case, so have not released further information as of this writing.

According to Sgt. Mills, “We are employing every investigative option available to us in order to stop these crimes.”

Residents really need to be aware, and help keep on eye on their neighborhoods.  Says Sgt. Mills, “Our best resources are people being observant and not afraid to ‘bother’ us with that suspicious person call.”

As far as keeping homes and families safe, he adds “The best advice we can offer is the advice that others have shared: lock your doors and windows, leave outside lights on and if you hear something or see something that doesn’t seem right call the police department in your jurisdiction immediately, not a few hours later.”