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Monroeville Police closely guard Haymaker Road

| Thursday, March 8, 2012

Monroeville police are keeping a close watch on neighborhoods near Haymaker Road after a recent spike in burglaries.

Police reported about 25 burglaries between Jan. 11 and Tuesday, including 11 homes within a half-mile of Haymaker Road. No arrests had been made as of Tuesday.

So far, the pace of the burglaries is ahead of recent years. Police reported 47 burglaries in 2009, 94 in 2010 and 99 in 2011.

In the recent burglaries, the items stolen have varied, from televisions to jewelry, leading police to believe two different crews are responsible.

A few victims reported noises late at night, although the burglars so far have avoided confrontation, said police Chief Doug Cole.

"We're not talking about home invasions," he said.

Most people were out for the day or out of town when their homes were burglarized, Cole said. Suspects probably are from the area and familiar with the roads, he said.

Monroeville detectives are consulting neighboring municipalities, including Murrysville, which have seen an increase in burglary reports.

Harold Batchen of Monroeville has been tracking burglaries near his home. He said he considered purchasing a firearm, but is concerned his grandchildren could find it.

"I can't always supervise them," he said. "It's a dilemma."

"It's a shame that Monroeville has this problem that's slowly getting worse," said Chris Masters, a lifelong resident.

His mother was a block captain of the Garden City Neighborhood Watch in the early 1990s.

"The residents have to be more aware of their surroundings," he said. "The police can only be in so many places at once."

Four new officers are scheduled to join the Monroeville police force by June or July, said Cole.

Residents of the Garden City neighborhood will meet March 26 to discuss preventing burglaries.

"We want people to be vigilant," Cole said.

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