A week after warning residents that , thieves and would-be thieves have targeted homes east of the tracks.
According to Detective Doug Williams, five Ridgewood residents over the Labor Day weekend reported unknown individuals either gained entry into their homes or fled when discovered by startled residents or alarms.
He's urging residents to secure their homes, garages, vehicles and keep valuables out of sight to lessen the chances a burglary sneaks in.
On Aug. 31, a Spring Avenue resident reported that her home had been entered while she was sleeping. The suspicious individual, Williams said, didn't take any items or make contact with the resident. Detectives are investigating the unusual report.
Other reports, unfortunately, were fairly typical in a village that has been battered by , and, of late, Ridgewood's West Side by Willard Elementary School.
"The suspect in the Willard neighborhood incidents most likely lives in that area prowling the neighborhood in the early morning hours looking for opportunities," Williams said.
Those responsible for the Willard-area burglaries apparently took the "Labor Day" message seriously. The East Side wasn't so lucky although the incidents are not clear cut, Williams said.
According to the detective, police raced to a Cathleen Terrace address on Sept. 1 and found a rear window had been smashed. The burglar alarm, the detective said, appeared to have scared the would-be thieves. No entry was made into the home but a search of the area nestled by the highway didn't turn up any suspects.
Nearby, on Jefferson Street, a resident had a frightening encounter. The resident told police a man wearing a black ski mask tried to break into the home from a second floor window. The man fled when he noticed the homeowner had seen him, Williams said. Again, a search with the aid of a K-9 unit came up empty.
A Van Emburgh Avenue resident also reported their home burglarized sometime over the Labor Day weekend. It's not clear if the home was locked, as several family members had gone in and out before the theft occurred. No signs of entry were found, but jewelry from the master bedroom was missing, Williams said.
There are several other incidents that were not reported due to the delay in the victim discovering items were missing, Williams said.
In each of those cases, no entry was forced and suspects only took cash from wallets and pocketbooks. The thieves didn't seem concerned homeowners were sleeping upstairs, Williams said.
Police say it's likely there are several individuals responsible for the burglaries in the village.
"The thinking is that East Side burglaries are a separate actor from Westside [burglaries," Williams said, adding that there's a resemblance of burglaries on the East Side to ones just over the border in Paramus.
Police concede that despite rolling patrols on the East Side and on the West Side, they've largely been unable to identify and capture burglary suspects. For the most part, that is.
Police are actively searching for a fugitive they say is responsible for stealing a jewelry box from a South Broad Street resident on Labor Day weekend.
An investigation by the detective bureau resulted in warrants for burglary and theft, both third-degree charges, against Dereck Miller, 34, of Ridgewood. Police say the victim, new to the neighborhood, became suspicious of him. Not long after, the victim's jewelry was found sold at a local pawn shop, Williams said.
Police said Miller, who has a lengthy rap sheet of theft charges, is currently a fugitive. Anyone with information concerning Miller's whereabouts are urged to contact Detective Douglas Williams at 201-251-4537, 201-615-3718 or firstname.lastname@example.org.