Rash of break-ins hits Belmont, Arlington

A rash of break-ins has broken out across Belmont and Arlington in recent weeks in what Belmont PD investigators think is an organized and professional operation carried out by one or two groups of criminals.

Data provided to BloggingBelmont by the Belmont PD shows ten break-ins in Belmont between September 29 and November 18, almost all in neighborhoods adjacent to Route 2. Another eight break ins have been reported just across the town line in Arlington in the same period. At least five of those break-ins occurred when occupants were at home, according to the BPD data.

The thieves have been taking mostly cash and jewelry, and Belmont Police investigators believe that there is a clear pattern to the break-ins and that the same group of criminals is responsible for most of them. No arrests have been made, to date, but a suspect has been identified in one case, according to the Belmont PD data.

The thieves appear to be targeting homes that are not occupied, or where elderly residents live. They have been entering by tearing through window screens, often using tools available on site, or by stepping through unlocked doors. However, in a handful of the cases, the thieves have entered through unlocked second story windows with the assistance of the homeowner’s ladder or that of a neighbor. BPD investigators believe the thieves are being dropped off in the targeted areas, then travel to the target home, possibly on bicycle, before being retrieved later in the evening with the loot.

More worrying: the thieves appear to be growing more bold: breaking in during daylight hours and targeting homes that they don’t know to be vacant. In at least one case, BPD tells us, a homeowner encountered a man in the home, who then fled.The Belmont PD is increasing patrols of affected neighborhoods and is recommending steps to help prevent break ins. Among them: lighting back yards and cutting back trees and shrubs that could provide cover, keeping an eye out for suspicious activity and even initiating neighborhood watch groups to do the rounds. Contact the BPD if you notice anything suspicious in your neighborhood!