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Homes burglarized in "second safest city in America"

by Maggie Crane

KMOV.com

Posted on June 17, 2011 at 9:56 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 17 at 10:09 PM

Burglars are breaking into homes in the "Second Safest City in America," even stealing guns.

It's not something you hear about too often in O'Fallon, Missouri, and that's exactly what has one victim sharing his story.

It's a warning for people who don't think crime can happen so close to home, especially in a city like O'Fallon. But it sits right off Interstate 70, and police say thieves are getting bolder.

A thief stole Michael Hadley's sense of security, along with a stash of jewelry and guns.

"It makes me mad more than anything that somebody was actually in my home," Hadley says.

The burglar made off with Hadley's championship football ring. His sister is now offering a reward if someone finds it and returns it to her brother. The burglar found the treasured ring when he broke the glass, pried open Hadley's back door and ransacked his room.

"You can always replace it in terms of monetary value or the items themselves, but the significance of who had it before me -- like my grandfather and stuff -- I'm not going to get back," Hadley says.

The weapons are collector's items and not something you'd typically see in street crimes, but it still concerns police.

"Any time weapons are stolen it's a higher concern because you don't know who the person is or what they intend to do with that item," Officer Diana Damke of the O'Fallon Police Department says.

Police say someone hit two homes here in the past week. While one woman was sleeping, a burglar broke into her garage and made off with some tools.

"But sometimes those then lead to when they're actually walking into the residence and they're stealing items out of the residence instead of just the garages or the cars, so they kind of build their way up," Officer Damke says.

In both cases most of the stolen items were small, although valuable -- stuff that can be snatched quickly and sold off for cash.

"They kind of ruled out kids and feel like it's somebody maybe drug-related or something like that," Hadley says.

It's certainly not normal for this community or something you'd expect to see on a street like Country Life Drive. Police urge neighbors to keep an eye out for anyone who doesn't belong in their subdivision. Call O'Fallon police if you have any information on either case.

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