CrimeTracker 15: Burglars use Newspapers to Target Homes

UPDATE: Tuesday, November 17, 2009 --- 6:30 p.m.

Police say burglars are turning to newspapers to find their next target.

There is more evidence suggesting the problem is spreading across Dane County.

Tonight police are looking for people they say are targeting homeowners away at funerals.

Burglars are using information from the newspaper to hit homes where they know no one will be home.

Last night we told you about burglars in Stoughton who police believe are checking the obituaries and targeting people at funerals.

Tonight we have evidence that the problem is spreading across Dane County and the thieves responsible are taking any information they can get from the newspaper.

In the past month at least 5 similar incidents occurred in Dane County and in four of the five victims were at a funeral when their home was ransacked.

The most recent case was on Saturday in the town of Montrose.

A family came home after an anniversary party that was advertised in the paper to find their patio door smashed by a rock and most of their valuables gone.

Elise Schaffer with the Dane County Sheriff's Office says, "It's something that happens periodically. It's an easy way for people to get access to names of people and exactly what time they're going to be out of their house and take advantage of that. "

According the the Dane County Sheriff's office it looks like whoever is responsible for the burglaries is taking plenty of time as well, loading up on big, more valuable items, probably since they know the homeowners won't be stopping home to surprise them.

The best advice in all of this is to be aware of the problem and help each other out.

The Sheriff's office says look out for your neighbors if you know they'll be gone at a funeral or other event especially if it's been advertised in the newspaper.

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Posted Tuesday, November 17, 2009 --- 11:21 a.m.

Release from the Dane County Sheriff's Office:

Madison, WI. November 17, 2009 – The Dane County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a string of residential burglaries. The common theme in these burglaries is the suspects enter the home in the afternoon or evening when the victims are at an event that has been publicized in a newspaper.

The most recent case occurred on Saturday, November 14th in the town of Montrose. When the residents arrived home after a family anniversary party, they found their patio door smashed in by a rock and many of their valuables gone.

Over the past month, Sheriff’s deputies have responded to five such incidents throughout Dane County. On four occasions, victims were attending a funeral when they were burglarized. All of the break-ins occurred between the hours of 10:00 am and 10:00 pm., and the burglars took items valued at high dollar amounts.

The Dane County Sheriff’s Office wants to remind residents to secure their homes when leaving, and encourages neighbors to look out for each other and report any suspicious activity they witness to authorities immediately. Anyone having information on the burglaries being investigated can call the Dane County Tip Line at (608) 284-6900.