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Several towns on edge after recent string of car break-ins

By ANNA MEILER

WHITESTOWN, N.Y. (WKTV) -- Several towns are on edge after a string of car robberies this week.

"It's the first time we've had a mass amount of larcenies in about two years," said Chief Donald Wolanin, Whitestown Police Department.

In Whitestown, West Street and the area of Herthum Hills are getting hit the hardest with a dozen break-ins just this week.

"The vast majority of them are cars that were unlocked. It's a crime of opportunity. We believe they're possibly on foot going from car to car with probably some type of lighting instrument to look in the car," said Chief Wolanin.

"We're just taking precautions right now trying keep everything locked up as best as we can," said April Brady, who lives on West Street.

And it's happening all over Utica and the surrounding suburbs.

"It's been an ongoing problem with different police departments throughout the area- New Hartford has a number of car larcenies, I talked to Chief English two days ago, Kirkland has a number of car larcenies and also Utica it's been an ongoing problem for a considerable length of time," said Chief Wolanin.

In the Town of Marcy, cars in front of at least three homes on Michaels Lane were robbed as well as several more on Fox Road.

"It's made me very uneasy. It's made everybody uneasy on the whole street. Nobody's sleeping like they should be sleeping," said Margaret Roberts.

A wallet was taken from her daughter's car and they weren't the only victims.

"Numerous houses. The house across the street- they broke their windows, they stole tax papers out of the house across the street. All down Fox Road there were broken car windows," said Roberts.

In Herkimer, the police posted a crime alert on their Facebook page that said:

"We want to remind everyone to keep your vehicles locked. We are diligently investigating the recent string of larcenies. Remain vigilant and if you see suspicious activity or you are the victim of a crime, report it! We need your help to keep the village safe and hold criminals accountable."

Chief Wolanin said the break-ins may be linked to an increase in drug use in the area.

"A lot of it I believe is substance abuse type of crimes," he said. "We're seeing that a lot more too. I think we had half a dozen heroin arrests this year in Whitestown."

He's advising residents to keep their doors locked and, "Do not leave anything of value in your car ever, especially purses and money and another thing, if you're out in a public area, if you do have your purse, lock that in the trunk."

The police departments are working together to try to find a connection, but have yet to track down a suspect. If you have any information, immediately contact your local police department.

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