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Group of burglaries hits area

A recent rash of home burglaries in the area has local police concerned and on the lookout for a white, newer model Dually pickup truck.
According to Jonesborough Chief of Police Matt Hawkins, the thefts began Monday, Feb. 23, with a burglary in the New Halifax neighborhood.
“Then there was one reported in Johnson City within an hour or two and a third one just outside the city limits on old Jonesborough Highway,” Hawkins said. “Sometime in the afternoon, a fourth one was reported in Johnson City on Todd Drive.”
What each case had in common was the white pickup truck.
“They are (happening) in populated areas which gives us more opportunity to find a witness,” Hawkins said. “Real quickly yesterday, we knew we were dealing with what essentially seems to be the same people. At this point we are looking for a newer model white Dually pickup truck, possibly with a North Carolina tag.”
Some witnesses have also reported a ladder rack on the truck. “We want anybody with information on a vehicle like that to call us,” Hawkins said. The number is 753-1053.
The perpetrators seem to be pursuing their crimes with a bit of pre-planning, the chief added.
“They are coming to their targets a day prior and they are asking residents questions,” Hawkins said. “They are making it sound like they’re looking for someone’s house to do some work on.”
Monday’s burglaries are the latest in an overall increase in the town.
“From Jan. 1 through Feb. 18 in 2014, there were a total of nine reported burglaries and thefts,” Hawkins said Monday. “In that same period this year, we’ve had 17.”
That should not only be an alert to local law enforcement, but to local homeowners as well, Hawkins believes.
“I’m a poster child for this,” said town resident Nancy Kavanaugh, who was number 17 on the list earlier this month.
According to Kavanaugh, she was returning home on the afternoon of Feb. 8 and noticed that her back sliding door was open.
“I thought, ‘I did not leave that open,’” she recalled. Then she noticed her laptop was gone.
Kavanaugh called the police. In the end, it was determined that the intruders had taken her laptop, televisions, jewelry, a passport and a box of credit cards.
“It felt like they knew what they wanted,” she said. “You feel violated and intruded upon.”
The police are already making progress zeroing in on possible suspects — and Kavanaugh is pleased with their hard work — but she has also learned a hard lesson.
She had not copied serial numbers of her electronics. “I had not made copies of the front and back of my credit cards,” she said. “These things can make your life much easier.”
There are also things you can do beforehand that can help reduce your risk of being burglarized, Hawkins said.
“Obviously, deterrence is always the very best approach,” he said.
Make sure doors and windows are locked.
Make sure visibility is good all around your home. Keep landscaping trimmed back.
“Good neighbors are better than any alarm system,” Hawkins said. “If you are going to be gone, have your neighbors keep look out. Do the same for them.”
Keep a updated list of serial numbers and descriptions of all big items.
The most important thing, Hawkins said, is to notify your local law enforcement office anytime you see something suspicious.
“If people see or suspect anything suspicious, give us a call. Most people know what is not normal in their neighborhood,” he said. “We want people to call. It’s what we do. It’s what we get paid to do. We want to catch these people.”