Naperville police Sgt. Lou Cammiso quoted Cmdr. Brian Cunningham, supervisor of the department’s investigations unit, when asked about the status of the probe into a spree of 28 home burglaries that have been committed since the first of August: “We have more tips than we have detectives.”
Not that police mind, mind you. Cammiso said investigators welcome all input and information concerning the break-ins, which have happened night and day at occupied, empty, locked up and wide-open homes on the city’s north-northwest and south-southeast sides.
The Sun on Aug. 25 and Sept. 9 reported burglars appeared to be preying in particular on homeowners who were leaving their doors and windows unlocked during the overnight hours. Money, jewelry, electronic goods and, in one case, a 2013 Volkswagen Passat have been stolen while residents were either preoccupied in other parts of their homes, out running errands or sleeping.
There have been two more burglaries since Sept. 11, which Cammiso said raises the tally to 28.
Other Chicago-area media reported last week on the crime spree, which police believe involves one gang of burglars working the north side of town and another on the prowl to the south.
Cammiso said police between Sept. 11 and Monday night fielded 235 telephone calls from residents reporting suspicious vehicles, people or incidents in their neighborhoods.
That averages out to nearly 40 calls per day over that six-day period, and is more than double the 112 “suspicious activity” calls to which police responded during the same period last year, Cammiso said. Eighty-three of the more recent calls have come from residents of the southeast side, he said.
One such call came in about 2:45 p.m. Monday, when a resident of the 2200 block of Remington Drive in the University Heights neighborhood reported unexpectedly finding the unlocked back door of her home wide open. No entry was made in that case and nothing was stolen, according to a written police bulletin.
A more unusual report was logged about 8:15 a.m. Sunday, police bulletins revealed. That was when at least two residents of the 1200 block of River Oak Drive in the Signal Point neighborhood reported seeing “lawn mowers on Sunday in the rain,” and asked police to investigate.
“We do have heightened public awareness” of the burglaries in the wake of the recent media coverage, Cammiso said Tuesday. He would not discuss what, specifically, police are doing as part of their investigation, saying only, “we have redeployed staff accordingly to address this situation.”
Cammiso also confirmed police “do believe there is more than one crew working the area, but this is based on intuition, as opposed to any proof.” He said the police theory is “mostly based on the different M.O.s,” or methods of operation, in the crimes on the northwest side of town as compared to those on the southeastern end.
Cunningham and police Chief Robert Marshall intend to meet with and address the concerns of residents of the southeastern part of town during a public meeting set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Madison Junior High School, 1000 River Oaks Drive. Cammiso said police are planning to hold similar, town meeting-like sessions in other areas of the city at later dates.
Burglaries have occurred on the 2000 block of Cobblebrook Lane, in the Cinnamon Creek neighborhood; the 3400 block of Keller Lane, in the Kinloch area; the 800 block of Cool Creek Court, in the Timber Creek neighborhood; the 700 block of Burgess Hill Road in the Brighton Ridge area; and the 300 block of Dupahze Street, in the Knoch Knolls neighborhood, among others.
Break-ins also were reported in mid-August at unsecured, occupied homes on Albermarle Court, Golden Gate Lane and Paxton Drive, all in or near the Brookdale neighborhood on the northwest side; and on Lakewood Circle in west-central Naperville.
Police have been offering common-sense advice to residents. That includes keeping doors and windows locked, particularly during the late-evening and early-morning hours or when owners are away from home, and reporting all suspicious neighborhood activity to police.
Naperville Crime Stoppers can be reached at 630-420-6006. The main police telephone number is 630-420-6666.