By Elizabeth Hur
DELAWARE COUNTY (CBS) - A warning for homeowners about a burglary spree in Delaware County.
At a town hall meeting, Nether Providence police urged homeowners to be extra vigilant after seven burglaries were reported in the township since August.
Tuesday evening, Eyewitness News spoke to a Wallingford resident who unfortunately became the eighth victim.
“I’m just shaking. There are stuff that can’t be replaced,” Paula Teller said.
Closing and canceling her credit cards are not how Paula Teller planned to spend her Tuesday evening. But after running a quick errand, Teller came home to learn she had become the latest victim in Nether Providence to a burglar who made off with Teller’s purse, computer and jewelry.
Teller said, “You feel angry somebody did that and you feel sad for them that’s what they’re choosing to do.”
Coincidentally, at a previously scheduled meeting later in the evening, Nether Providence Police Chief Thomas Flannery together with elected officials answered questions from concerned residents noting the break-ins usually happen during the day when no one is home. The suspects run in and target jewelry and electronics and they are out of the home within minutes. In most cases, investigators noted pillow cases were used to stash the loot.
Also at the meeting, authorities announced some of the recent rash of burglaries in the township and Delaware County could be the work of Derrick Carter. The 33-year-old was arrested Monday afternoon in Northeast Philadelphia after leading police on a wild high speed chase from Wynnefield, through the Schuylkill Expressway, I-676 then I-95. According to sources, Carter was wanted for multiple burglaries in multiple agencies in at least two states: Pennsylvania and Delaware.
In fact, late Tuesday Eyewitness News received the following press release from New Castle County, DE:
“New Castle County Detectives have warrants on file for Derrick Carter, a 33 year old male who resides in the 600 block of East Woodlawn Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after investigators were able to link the suspect to two burglaries and an attempted burglary that occurred in the communities of Longview Farms and Carrcroft earlier this month.
On Wednesday (11/21) afternoon, County Police responded to the 1100 block of Stonewood Court in the community of Longview Farms for a reported burglary. Police learned that an unknown suspect forced his way into the residence and removed jewelry and electronics from the home before fleeing. Police also learned that later that afternoon an unknown suspect had attempted to gain entry into a home in the 1100 block of North Overhill Court.
On Monday (11/26) afternoon, County Police responded to the 100 block of Glenside Avenue in the community of Carrcroft for another reported burglary. Police learned that an unknown suspect forced his way into the residence and removed jewelry and electronics from the home before fleeing.
During the investigation, investigators were able to identify Derrick Carter as the primary suspect and he was later positively identified as the subject involved in the crimes. He is currently in the custody of the Philadelphia Police Department awaiting his extradition to Delaware.”
Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said, “We believe there are similarities that we’re looking at.”
While investigators do their work, authorities provided 3 On Your Side with a list of recommendations to keep residents secure.
General Recommendations for Improved Residential Security:
1) A home should appear occupied day or night.
2) The interior should be checked before leaving.
3) Small valuables and cash should be stored in inconspicuous or camouflaged hiding places throughout the house. Burglars first check bedrooms, dining areas, kitchens and refrigerators. Valuable objects should not be displayed in plain view of windows.
4) Keep complete list of valuable items in a safe place (include make, model, serial numbers and colored photos).
5) Always lock the home using heavy duty dead bolt locks. Protect the keys, only lending to trusted friends or relatives. Never hide a key outside. Replace the lock or re-key if a key is stolen.
6) Close and lock windows, screens and storm windows. Arrange window shades in normal positions as if the house was occupied.
7) Set electrical timers to turn lights on/off during the evening hours to duplicate normal patterns. A radio, tuned to a talk station, can be controlled by a timer during the day giving the house an occupied sound.
8) If you have an alarm system. Make sure to set up when you leave the house.
9) As one exits the residence, the exterior should be viewed as a potential burglar might see it.
10) The garage door and any connecting door to the house should be locked, both using heavy duty locks.
11) House and garden equipment, lawn furniture, ladders, garbage cans should not be left outside where they could be used to gain access to a high window or ledge.
12) Install a mail box large enough to conceal magazines and small packages, delivered while the house is unoccupied. Arrange recepticles or procedures with cooperating neighbors for newspapers and packaged deliveries which may arrive.
13) Don’t post messages which indicate an empty house or time of return.
14) If possible, leave a locked car parked in the driveway blocking access to the garage.
15) Prepare window glass, door and window locks without delay.
IF going on vacation, the following additional precautions should be taken:
16) Transfer valuables and cash to a safe deposit box or bank account.
17) Notify the police department (610-892-2875) about departure times and return dates. Supply a local name and phone number to be reached in the event of an emergency.
18) Stop mail deliveries or have a neighbor pick it up daily and hold for your return.
19) Leave an itinerary or an emergency phone number where you can be reached with a trusted neighbor or friend.
20) Stop newspaper delivery or arrange with a neighbor to remove papers, circulars and unexpected packages left in your absence.
21) Schedule the grass to be cut to keep its normal appearance. Prune shrubbery and plants so that they will not be overgrown and hide the view of your home from neighbor’s observation. In winter, arrange for snow shoveling or “we’re at home” tracks in the snow.
22) Ask a neighbor to place some of their garbage out for pick up at your home to maintain a “normal” routine.
23) Turn off any automatic lawn sprinkling system.”
Whelan added the best advice he can give is this, “When you’re going out please lock your homes, make it difficult for someone to go into your house.”
Calling the burglaries a county-wide problem, officials say they have increased patrols in the area but police need residents to do their part. Police stress, do not hesitate to call 911 should you see anyone acting suspiciously.