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Thieves Hit East Side of Ridgewood Over Labor Day Weekend

Numerous residents reported break-ins and burglaries over the Labor Day weekend near Rt. 17, according to Ridgewood police.

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 dwilliams@ridgewoodnj.net.

Judy Brown September 06, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Robberies and Home invasions are increasing rapidly. These thugs know that there is less of a chance getting caught burglarizing a home then robbing businesses. So stay safe, be vigilant, install deadbolts and keep alarm activated. If you don't have an alarm system try the united states security company directory (USSCD) for great affordable home security options.
Ridgewooder September 06, 2012 at 01:53 PM
These burglers should be caught and locked up. FOREVER.
RdgwdGRock September 06, 2012 at 02:27 PM
catch them, tie them down in the middle of Rt 17 or Rt 4 and let the distracted drivers apply justice
No One September 06, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Jesus. Stop staying criminals should be locked up forever in all your comments. It's getting old.
jp1 September 06, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Try another comment for a change this is all you ever say. Maybe you should be locked up forever.
RidgewoodResident September 06, 2012 at 06:38 PM
And be sure to keep a gun in the home.
dara brown September 06, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Don't make your house 'inviting'' to burglars. Get an alarm and use it. The savings on your homeowner's insurance will pay for most of it. Get timers on your lights indoors/outdoors or get a light sensor for the outdoor lights. Lock your car doors and dont leave valuables in sight (in the car or home) Keep your eyes open and if you SEE someone in the area that seems out of the ordinary CALL THE COPS. Thats the best way to catch these perps. And its worth the $15 to get a can of pepper spray to keep around in case you are confronted by an intruder. Or you can just zap them in the face with bug spray and run!
Ridgewood Mom September 07, 2012 at 01:51 AM
Together forever... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPYZpwSpKmA
eileen September 11, 2012 at 04:12 PM
This has become a critical issue. It is bad enough to have your home robbed when you are not home, but to have someone enter your home while you are home? I do not feel that anyone in the enforcement arena is guiding us as they should be. I was robbed last Fall and never heard one word about the investigation, what they found from forensics that were done, where I might have looked for my jewelry as far as possible pawn shops etc. Unfortunately, none of the suggestions we are told to do have been true deterrents. I always put my alarm on, lock all my doors and windowsI on my home and car, leave lights on etc. Bottom line is if burglars want to get in they will. I think it is time to discuss closing off some of the exits off West Saddle River Road and /or Racetrack Road. Though it would be somewhat of an imposition, the possible decrease of break ins and increase of peace of mind would be worth it. Let me add that I have respect for the police and the dangerous positions they put themselves in to protect us, but the status quo 'to do' list we get and the standard procedures of the local police department are not even beginning to touch the continually increasing break in rate. This is not good for our daily life here and certainly not good advertisement for our 'quiet little village" on many levels... including home values. Please some concrete, applicable short term solutions.
RdgwdGRock September 11, 2012 at 04:15 PM
the village is too busy worring about trees and branches. whatsa worry 'bout some home robberies. if they come in while I am home, I'll grab a hammer and big kitchen knife and have at'em

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