WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Thieves have been terrorizing some Wilmington communities, breaking into more than a dozen homes over the past month.
Police reports show the crooks are targeting homes in the River's Edge and Echo Farms neighborhoods.
According to police reports, the crooks are smashing their way into the houses through windows while homeowners aren't there.
The perpetrators are taking mostly jewelry. In one case, they stole a $20,000 diamond ring. In another case, a chief deputy from the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office had his badge swiped.
Paul Ferguson lives across the street from one of the homes that was hit. He said the homeowners' association sent out a letter to residents, warning them about the crimes. Now, he and his neighbors are being more vigilant.
"It's nerve wracking but we are looking out for our neighbors and our neighbors look out for us as well," she said. "Everyone is watching everyone's houses."
Police officers are investigating the break ins and have stepped up patrols in the neighborhood.
In fact, their patrols thwarted a car break in one night this week.
Katie Giacalone woke up to an officer knocking on her door.
The officer chased away a suspect who was reportedly trying to break into her car, parked in her driveway. The culprit escaped capture.
Police are asking neighbors to be extra cautious.
They're warning residents not to leave their windows open when they are not home and to keep garage doors closed during the day, to try to cut down on the burglaries.
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