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Rash of rural break-ins reported

(Published Oct. 4, 2007, 4:01 p.m.)

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An attempted break-in at a rural Walworth County home late Tuesday morning might be connected to a series of 34 burglaries and break-in attempts in Walworth and Rock counties.

A woman reported that two men attempted to enter her Richmond Township home near Territorial Road and Highway 89. She fled into a cornfield and called police on her cell phone, according to police radio traffic.

The men fled the home, and an attempt to locate the burglars' vehicle was not successful, said Lt. Kevin Williams of the Walworth County Sheriff's Department.

Seven burglaries were reported in Rock County on Monday and Tuesday alone, according to the Rock County Sheriff's Department.

Walworth County had burglaries reported Tuesday afternoon in Whitewater Township, and another Wednesday afternoon in Richmond Township.

"We believe that the burglaries that took place Tuesday were committed by the same individuals," Rock County Sheriff Robert Spoden said. "We base that on the timing and the location of the burglaries, and we were able to see a pattern of movement from north to south."

A press release issued by the Rock County Sheriff's Department on Wednesday said most of the burglaries were between 7:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the southeast and northeast portions of Rock County. However, "reports have come in from all areas," according to the release.

Investigators consider many of the daytime burglaries committed before Tuesday to be connected to the Tuesday crimes because they, too, were committed during the daytime and similar items were stolen, Spoden said.

The most common items taken have been electronic appliances such as large screen TVs, computers, etc.

The thieves method of operation appears to be going up to a residence set back off the road, knocking on the door and kicking it in if no one answers, Spoden said.

If residents are home, the suspects give a weak reason, such as looking for a lost dog, as to why they are knocking on the door, Cmdr. Troy Knudson said.

He asked that residents take note of the type and license plate numbers of vehicles driven by people who knock on their door during the day for no reason.

"A lot of people might think that's strange. But they don't call us, and that might be the one tip we need," Knudson said.

The investigation also includes Green County, according to the Wednesday press release.

"The most important thing people can do is be a good witness for us," Williams said. "If they see something suspicious, write it down. Get license plate (numbers). Be a good witness. Be a good neighbor."

Daytime burglaries
Rock County
-- Aug. 16: Highway 26 in Milton Township. An LCD television and jewelry were reported stolen.

-- Between Aug. 20-29: 6900 block of Highway 14 in Center Township. A mini ATV and dirt bikes were reported stolen.

-- Aug. 27: West Graham Road in Janesville Township. A laptop computer and money were reported stolen.

-- Aug. 29: County A in Johnstown Center. Guns and money were reported stolen.

-- Between Sept. 3-4: Highway 81 in Newark Township. Tools were reported stolen.

-- Sept. 5: Austin Road in Janesville Township. A television and other electronics were reported stolen.

-- Sept. 6: Robinson Lane in Janesville Township. A television, guns, money and other electronics were reported stolen.

-- Sept. 7: Gilbert Road in Footville Township. Jewelry and money were reported stolen.

-- Between Sept. 9-16: Mineral Point Road in Center Township. Nothing reported stolen.

-- Sept. 10: Creek Road in Bradford Township. A television, computer and gun were reported stolen.

-- Sept. 11: County E in Janesville Township. A television was reported stolen.

-- Between Sept. 13-17: Old Highway 92 in Magnolia Township. Nothing reported stolen.

-- Sept. 14: Jacobs Road in Milton Township. Jewelry was reported stolen.

-- Sept. 15: County H in Newark Township. Nothing reported stolen.

-- Between Sept 15-16: St. Lawrence Avenue in Newark Township. Nothing reported stolen.

-- Sept. 16: Sherwood Drive in Turtle Township. Nothing reported stolen.

-- Between Sept. 16-17: County N in Milton Township. Electronics were reported stolen.

-- Sept. 17: Connor Road in Janesville Township. A plasma television and other electronics were reported stolen.

-- Sept. 20: Schaffner Road in Plymouth Township. A computer and Sony PlayStation were reported stolen.

-- Sept. 20: Emerald Grove Road in Bradford Township. Nothing reported stolen.

-- Sept. 22: Highway 51 in Rock Township. A television was reported stolen.

-- Sept. 26: Bingham Road in Harmony Township. A computer and money were reported stolen.

-- Sept. 27: Six Corners Road in Johnstown Township. A TV, computer and other electronics were reported stolen.

-- Oct. 1: Milner Road in Bradford Township. A television and other electronics were reported stolen.

-- Oct. 2: Kemp Road in Bradford Township. Electronics were reported stolen.

-- Oct. 2: Walker Road in Turtle Township. Electronics were reported stolen.

-- Oct. 2: Lakeshore Road in Clinton Township. Electronics and guns were reported stolen.

-- Oct. 2: Countyline Road in Johnstown Township. Electronics were reported stolen.

-- Oct. 2: Lima Center Road in Johnstown Township. Electronics were reported stolen.

-- Oct. 2: Scharine Road in Johnstown Township. Electronics were reported stolen.

Walworth County
-- Oct. 2: Territorial Road in Richmond Township, attempted burglary.

-- Oct. 2: Stader Road in Whitewater Township, burglary.

-- Oct. 3: Christie Road in Darien Township, burglary.

-- Oct. 3: Richmond-Whitewater Townline Road, attempted burglary.

Keep your home safe
A recent rash of home burglaries prompted the Rock County Sheriff's Department to issue these tips:

-- If you see suspicious vehicles or people, call (608) 757-2244.

-- Make sure that all door and window locks are in working order.

-- Lock your home, even when leaving momentarily to walk the dog or doing yard work. Turn on your alarm system if you have one.

-- Lock all sliding glass doors regardless of what floor they are on. For added security, put a wooden dowel in the sliding door track.

-- Keep your garage door closed and make sure the interior door to your home is locked and dead bolted.

-- Keep a record of the model and serial numbers of all valuable items. If there is no model or serial numbers on your equipment, engrave your driver's license number onto those items.

-- Keep jewelry, coin collections and other valuables in a safety deposit box. If you keep valuables at home, keep their location and value secret.

-- Report suspicious activity. Include the make, model, color, and license plate number in vehicle descriptions.

-- Be cautious of strangers. When in doubt, call law enforcement. Burglars often check a home for occupants by knocking on the door.

-- Never allow anyone into your home unless you know them.

-- Do not reveal your name, phone number or address to unknown callers. Never admit that you are home alone or say when you will be away from home.

-- Never leave notes that can inform a burglar that your home is unoccupied.

-- Do not hide keys outside your home. Burglars know where to look.

-- Set a timer to switch on lights.

-- If you lose a house key, have your locks re-keyed.

-- Do not advertise that you are a woman living alone. Use your first initial only along with your last name on the mailbox and telephone book.

-- Know your neighbors.

If you are planning to be away from home:

-- Leave your contact information with a trusted neighbor. Have them occasionally park their car in your driveway.

-- Have someone watch your house, mow your lawn and pickup mail and newspapers.

-- Do not leave on the lights 24 hours a day.

-- Leave drapes in a normal position to maintain a lived-in appearance.

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