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Florissant police warn homeowners after recent string of burlgaries

by Maggie Crane / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on May 15, 2012 at 8:41 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 15 at 10:19 PM

FLORISSANT, Mo. (KMOV) -- Florissant police are warning homeowners after seven homes were broken into within the past two weeks.

It's the latest city to be targeted.  Over the last year, News 4 has covered numerous burglaries from Lake St. Louis to Edwardsville.  I've talked to police and prosecutors on both sides of the river to find out what thieves are after and when they're most likely to strike.

Florissant police think none of its seven cases are connected, meaning there are at least seven burglars still on the streets of Florissant tonight.  Daytime burglaries are most common everywhere, because police say most thieves don't want a confrontation, but they do want quick cash -- often for drugs.

Will Malone thinks a dark backyard may have looked like an open invitation to burglars.

"Yeah they cut this off and pried it open, and that's how they got in," Malone said as he showed me a perfectly slit hole in his screen.  "I've been working today putting in some flood lights and getting an alarm system put on the house; anything to discourage them from coming back."

Malone's house is one of seven open burglaries on the books in Florissant all within the past two weeks, including a violent home invasion last week by a man who turned a hammer into a weapon.

Police on both sides of the river tell me that thieves are now targeting gold and games.

"Gold, unfortunately, or any jewelry really, is really easy to get rid of because the price of gold is so high," Florissant Police Officer Andy Haarmann said.  "And gaming devices -- we have these younger people who are committing the burglaries and that's just something they want."

Burglary is a crime that police say has the most repeat offenders.  Prosecutors must have evidence to move forward -- fingerprints, a witness or a confession.

"A lot of burglaries we solve are with those good, observant neighbors who see someone and can identify someone," Officer Haarmann said.

And without them, the thieves are often left to go at it again.

"It makes you a little uneasy," Malone said of the break-in.  "Something you work for and stuff like that, it's kind of hard."

We've told you how widespread these burglaries are, and neighbors in Belleville are so concerned about what's happening there, Alderwoman Lillian Schneider is hosting a town-hall meeting Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in the City Council chambers at Belleville City Hall, 101 S. Illinois Street to find some solutions.

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