Burglar prowled as family slept: BPD


A recent rash of burglaries has prompted the Belleville Police Department to alert residents and shopkeepers to lock their doors and windows when leaving their homes or businesses or when retiring for the night.

But the most recent incident, which was reported on during the early morning hours on Aug. 17 at a Smallwood Ave. residence, occurred when family members were still at home.

The parents were asleep in their basement bedroom when they were awakened by a face-time call from their daughter alerting them to the presence of a stranger on the second floor, according to BPD Det. Capt. Dan Ward.

“We heard him start going down the stairs, I turned on the light, then I heard him run down the stairs and I took my sister’s phone and called my mom,” daughter Abigail told News 12.

Ward said the father went to investigate and found himself confronting a man he described as black, about 6 feet, wearing a dark-colored hoodie, in his living room, at which point the suspect tried to leave the house through the front door which was locked.

“That’s when I have the will to grab him … and he just wrestles with me for a little bit,” the father told News 12.

Then, Ward said, the intruder ran out the back door, hopped a fence and ran west along the railroad tracks.

Police believe the would-be burglar gained entry to the house by standing on a wall and climbing through a kitchen window, Ward said.

Ward said it was evident, from the presence of muddy footprints, that the intruder had been “all over the house” before he was discovered. It had rained during the night.

Police were alerted shortly before 6 a.m.

The BPD also logged these recent reports of home and business burglaries or attempted burglaries:

Aug. 12

An Elena Place resident was home alone when she suddenly was confronted with the presence of a man she listed as black, in his early 20s, about 6 feet, wearing a black hoodie and black jeans, police said. After claiming to be a security man, the intruder made a dash for the front door and ran away, police said.

Aug. 14

The owner of a Main St. business told police he arrived at around 10 a.m. to open up, only to find the front door pried open, two bathrooms damaged and $5,000 in cash taken, along with several packs of cigarettes, several bottles of Hennessey liquor and a Toshiba laptop.

Aug. 15

The owner of a house on Van Rensselaer St. called police at 1:37 p.m. to report that he’d left for about two hours and, upon returning, discovered jewelry thrown on his bed, a rear window open and $1,000 in cash gone.

Aug. 16

Shortly after 9 p.m., police were notified by the occupant of a Mill St. residence that when she arrived home, she saw shoe prints on the floor and a ski mask lying on her living room table. Police said they found no sign of forced entry and nothing was reported taken.

Police asked residents to report any suspicious activities to the BPD by calling 973-

Aug. 20

A 22-year-old resident was at his Fairway Ave. home with his girlfriend when a home security alarm sounded at 10:20 p.m., police said. Officers responding found multiple window screens opened and a side gate open but no entry was gained.

Police are asking residents to call 973-450-3334 or to call 911 if they see a crime in progress.

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