By Matt Rivers

MAPLE SHADE, N.J., (CBS) — There’s a burglary spree in a South Jersey town and police want residents to be on alert.

Three homes in Maple Shade were hit yesterday.

One was on the 100 block of South Walnut, another in the 400 block of North Maple, and the third house was in the 500 block of Buttonwood Avenue.

A dampened Christmas for three Maple Shade families, as their South Jersey homes were broken into. Police say the victims were all at work, when the thief, or thieves, struck.

“Three of them at one time, really within minutes of each other, that’s rare,” Chief Gary Gubbei of Maple Shade Township Police said.

The homes were relatively close to one another.  An investigation is now underway, both here and in towns surrounding Maple Shade, where similar crimes have happened.

Police say the thieves got away with everything from electronics to jewelry, basically items they could easily resell.  Of the three houses that were hit, two of them did not have alarm systems.  The third one did, but it wasn’t activated.

Christina Curcio and her little one live near one the houses targeted.

“This is a pretty safe neighborhood, everybody knows everybody, family oriented.  Pretty shocking to hear three houses were broken into,” Curcio said.

Especially days before a special time of year.

“People work hard for their money and Christmas holiday is coming, kind of ruins it,” neighbor Robert Neves said.

“It’s heartbreaking to see that you can’t leave your house for a bit with something like this happening,” neighbor Laura Goll said.

Police say they’ve stepped up patrols, but are asking the public to be vigilant and report suspicious activity.

“To be a little bit more vigilant, to leave your lights on, if you have a video system, record, use your alarms,” Gubbei said.

“Hopefully everyone else’s neighbors can look out for one another and keep an eye out for anyone around,” a neighbor said.

See something, say something.