Sitka police are investigating a spate of home burglaries this week.
Police received reports of four home burglaries believed to have taken place between midnight and 3AM today (11-20-14), all within walking distance of downtown.
A person or group apparently entered four separate homes, taking wallets, purses, a jewelry box, and one jacket with them. In all cases, residents were at home sleeping at the time and the homes were left unlocked.
Police received reports of two additional burglaries that apparently took place on Monday (11-17-14). Chief Sheldon Schmitt says there may be more that have not yet been discovered.
The burglaries were reported on Biorka, Etolin, and Charteris Streets, Peterson and Moller Avenues and Tlingit Way.
Police found one stolen purse in a dumpster. Schmitt says no arrests yet been made.
“I think it’s one or two guys just going house to house looking for easy targets, easy pickings,” said Schmitt. “We don’t want people to be easy pickings and we want to stop this. I don’t remember in my years having this many – it’s been a long time. There was a time back about ten years ago where we had somebody going to door to door, checking doors, but it’s been a long time.”
Sitka had 35 burglaries in 2005. That number has steadily declined, down to 18 last year.
This recent rash brings this year’s burglary count up to 31. Schmitt suspects a connection to drug abuse.
“Sometimes we’ll see patterns of it’s young kids doing it for fun or for money,” said Schmitt. “In this case we don’t believe it’s that. It’s young adults that are looking for drugs in the home or things they can turn in to cash to buy drugs.”
Sitka has also seen an increase in vehicle thefts and in valuables taken from vehicles. As with the home burglaries, all the targeted vehicles have been unlocked.
The police are asking Sitkans to call with any information.
Schmitt said, “If anybody last night saw anybody peering in windows, just acting suspiciously it would be really beneficial if they could give us a call. We have some idea already, but it would be helpful to us.”
The Police Department issued two press releases advising residents in how to prevent burglaries. The biggest tip: lock your door.
Click on the Press Release to see a full-screen version, or go to the Sitka Police Department’s Facebook page.