WILMINGTON — Police are investigating a string of break-ins in downtown Wilmington that happened in broad daylight. Detectives say the same person is likely responsible for all of them.
Nine houses broken into in six days, all within blocks of each other. In each case the burglar breaks in through a window or front door, stealing electronics, DVD players and PlayStations. Investigators say the suspect targets laptops.
Residents who live in the area where the break-ins are happening are on edge.
Downtown Wilmington resident Sue Kraus said, “Because he’s so brazen, because he marches in, breaks the window, goes on in and takes what he wants.”
Kraus says she’s started locking her door just to take her dog for a quick walk, but says she has comfort knowing her neighbors are watching out for each other.
“We’re all kind of reminding each other to lock our doors, even when we go out to walk our dogs and use our security systems more and watch out for one another,” she said.
Kraus along with many other downtown residents first heard about the rash of break-ins after getting an email from the Wilmington Police Department asking residents to keep an eye out for anyone suspicious.
“Below are two e-mails from Sgt. Donna Smith that talked about the spree of robberies and make sure you lock your doors,” Downtown Wilmington resident Bob Kraus said. “We were really grateful to get the information and it was very specific and it told exactly where he was hitting homes, what time of day he was doing it.”
Investigators describe the suspect as a white male between 20 and 30 years old with short hair.They say often times, he leaves the crime scene on a bicycle.
Burglary victim Jaime Nguyen said, “I came home from class and someone had cut the lock and one bike was left and the other lock was gone.”
Nguyen lives in the middle of where all of the break-ins are happening. His bike was stolen Tuesday, but Nguyen didn’t file a police report.
“We don’t want to raise our premium every year on our insurance so we can’t really report anything less than $1,000.”
Officer Pridgen with the Wilmington Police Department says it’s likely there are other unknown victims like Nguyen out there.
Officer Pridgen said, “We come across people time to time who didn’t report anything because they didn’t think their loss or damage was that important or that valuable, but every case is important to us.”
Officers plan to patrol the streets of downtown Wilmington until the suspect is caught.
If you have any information you can call the WPD at 343-3600.