A victim of burglary is doing what she can to get the word out to Elmhurst residents to be extra vigilant.
A resident on the 500 block of South Hawthorne circulated an e-mail to hundreds of Elmhurst residents Wednesday after her home was burglarized on Tuesday, Nov. 29. The email said at least two men had broken into her home and taken money, all of her jewelry, small electronics and cameras while she was out Christmas shopping between noon and 3 p.m. She said the offenders entered the home by forcing open a basement door.
But there are some discrepancies between the email that was circulated and the police report that was filed in this case, police Chief Steve Neubauer said Thursday afternoon.
Based on the work of an evidence technician, the police report states there was no forced entry to the home, Neubauer said. It is believed the offender entered the home through an unlocked door between noon and 12:30 p.m. Nov. 29. The police report said that the bedroom was ransacked and a 9 mm handgun was stolen from a locked safe, and nothing else appeared to be disturbed or missing.
Missing money, jewelry and electronics were not noted at the time of the report, Neubauer said. The homeowner may have "discovered other things that were missing" after the initial report was filed, he said, but he was not aware of it.
The email said that a neighbor noticed two men walking down the street with dark jackets and hoods at about 12:20 p.m., but Neubauer said there is no indication how many people were in the home or whether the men the neighbor saw had anything to do with the crime.
"We don't know that two men broke into the home," he said.
Neubauer said it is important for people to be vigilant, but he doesn't want any misinformation to cause panic among homeowners. He said the department takes these crimes very seriously and victims are traumatized by burglary.
"Their whole lives are turned upside down," he said.
Other Burglaries Recently Reported
Also on Nov. 29, someone broke into a home on the 100 block of East Crestview between noon and 2:45 p.m. The offender entered the home by kicking in the back door, then removed a digital camera, three watches, costume jewelry, $11 and a half-full jar of coins from the living room and master bedroom, according to police reports.
Someone also entered a home in the 400 block of South Arlington between 1 and 7 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24, and took a $100 bill from a wallet left on the floor. Several drawers in a bedroom appeared to have been ransacked, but no other items were reported stolen. Police said the suspect entered through an unlocked back door.
And, someone attempted to break into a garage service door of a home on the 100 block of South Poplar Avenue between 11 a.m. Nov. 24 and 9 p.m. Nov. 29 while the homeowner was out of town. While taking the garbage out on Nov. 29, the homeowner noticed the garage service door was partially open. She called police, who discovered glass panes on the upper half of the door appeared to have been forced open and the inside trim pushed off inside the frame. Pry marks were on the outside door striker and frame. Nothing appeared to be missing from the garage or the home, police said.
'Tis the Season for Breakins
Elmhurst police on Nov. 16 urging caution due to a rash of burglaries in Elmhurst. Neubauer wants to make it clear, however, that burglaries are actually down overall, and during the holiday season there is usually a spike in such crimes.
For all of 2009, there were 65 burglaries and attempted burglaries; in 2010, there were 57; and in 2011, so far there have been 50, he said.
"I do not mean to diminish the importance of this," he said. "We do take these crimes very seriously and we are putting all kinds of effort into finding out who did all of these crimes."
Police are asking residents to set their burglar alarms every time they leave home, lock all windows and doors and install automatic exterior and interior lighting. Also, residents should immediately report any suspicious vehicles or people by calling 911, but never confront them.
"Never feel it is a bother or is not important," a police press release said a couple of weeks ago. "The police will gladly check things out."
As a result of these recent crimes, residents also decided to take action, holding a meeting Dec. 4 to discuss a .
This article previously stated there were two burglaries on the 500 block of South Hawthorne on Nov. 29, when in fact there was only one. We apologize for the error.