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August  22

Lock Those Doors

Graffiti, robbers in the night, more plant/tree mutilation. Is Montclair going to hell in a handbasket or is it a heat wave/crime wave conenction. Came home from vacation to find this flyer under my door...

Dear Neighbors,

Our house was robbed late on Wednesday night.  The burglars came in the back of the house through a door on our deck which we had accidentally left open. They took two briefcases (including laptops, Blackberries, cell phones, i-pods), three purses and a wallet with cash. It seems they quickly took whatever was in front of them -- the stuff you leave on the kitchen counter when you come in the house. They also went through our cars, both of which were unlocked and in our driveway.

The family including their yellow lab slept through the whole incident. This burglary took place on Cooper Ave between Park and Grove; the burglars also hit a number of houses/cars on neighboring Summit Ave., where they scattered items from the wallets on lawns. Block meetings took place on both streets.

August 22, 2005 in Sirens | Permalink


that's why i'm a lunatic about locking things. even if i'm going away "for a second."

Posted by: efs | Aug 22, 2005 11:37:23 AM

I live on Grove, in Clifton, right over the Montclair border. I had three cars in the driveway hit. all unlocked. Lost cellphones, jackets.

Posted by: sk145 | Aug 22, 2005 11:42:26 AM

How came the Labby didn't bark?

Posted by: Miss Martta | Aug 22, 2005 11:51:55 AM

Some friends of ours had their house robbed in the middle of the day, while they were out at the Memorial Day parade, a block away. It's amazing how brazen some thieves are.

I've started turning our house alarm on when we leave for more than 15 minutes, not just locking the doors.

Posted by: MiloG | Aug 22, 2005 11:52:49 AM

People still leave things unlocked in Jersey? Where do they think they are, Maine? What century do they think this is?

Yah, it sucks, but I haven't lived in unlocked mode since I left Missouri 35 years ago.

Posted by: curmudgeon | Aug 22, 2005 12:09:25 PM

why would you leave your car unlocked!

especially in today's age when on many/most cars you just push a little button the keychain to unlock the doors.

Posted by: butchcjg | Aug 22, 2005 12:32:35 PM

That same area of Upper Montclair (the streets near and around Sunset Park) had a series of buglaries last summer. I think they happened during the day. There was an article in the Star Ledger that I gave to my mom, which made her start to lock her doors - finally! When you live in a town as nice and neighborly as U.Montclair it's easy to feel too safe for your own good.

Posted by: hrhppg | Aug 22, 2005 12:55:59 PM

I will never understand why some folks in Montclair don't lock their doors. What happened to common sense?

We live in one of the most densely populated counties in the most densely populated state in the nation, near some of the most economically depressed areas in the state. Those lovely suburban streets may look angelic but even in the nicest corner of the nicest Essex County town you cannot fight the law of averages. Lock your doors!

Posted by: State Street Pete | Aug 22, 2005 2:56:43 PM

This cracks me up. These people leave their door unlocked, their wallets, laptops, cell phones, etc. on their kitchen counter top, their cars unlocked, and then they go tell their neighbors how stupid they were. Sucks they were robbed, but damn, I don't think you can get any stupider than these folks.

Posted by: woe is me! | Aug 22, 2005 3:00:41 PM

I still think it's odd that the dog didn't bark. If I was a sleuth, that would be a red flag.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Aug 22, 2005 3:13:08 PM

Woe -

Having accidentally left a door unlocked one night myself, I have some sympathy. Thought my wife had locked it, she thought I had locked it. It happens. They just had the bad luck to have done it on the night that someone was out trying doors.

With the cars, I grew up in this area some 20 years ago. It would never have occurred to us to lock our cars overnight when they were in our driveway. Old habits die hard. Luckily for me my wife grew up in a more urban area and it would never have occurred to her not to lock the car. It's a tough realization that our area barely qualifies as suburban anymore.

Posted by: MiloG | Aug 22, 2005 3:28:38 PM

But Milo, it seems from this that leaving the door open is a regular occurance in Montclair, not a one-time thing.

And I'll admit, I forget to lock my car on occasion too, but I don't leave anything in it of major value. I also grew up around here, but we always locked the doors, car and house. My mom is from Irvington so that might have made her more cautious.

Posted by: State Street Pete | Aug 22, 2005 4:14:13 PM

> I still think it's odd that the dog didn't bark. If I was a sleuth, that would be a red flag.

So, Martta, you think the dog was in on it? Intriguing theory!

Pete, I have those raised-in-Irvington lockdown habits, too.

Posted by: Chris | Aug 22, 2005 4:20:17 PM

Knowing what I know about dogs, Chris, they always bark at strangers, esp. at night. And they have a keen sense of smell. Unless this dog was very old, he might have known the "intruder" and therefore, did not bark to alert the fmaily.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Aug 22, 2005 4:34:44 PM

Depends on the dog. I have a friend who adopted a greyhound. She says "he's a good watchdog: if someone breaks in he'll watch them."

Posted by: MiloG | Aug 22, 2005 5:37:12 PM

miss martha -with the air conditioning running-and the dog probably safely in a coma in one of the upstair bedrooms-if that was the case- then no-

the dog would not hear necessarily the non-break in-

-one actor who is accustomed and bold enough to try this is probably lucky in this case-

-however if found this is someone who has been at this for some time-

good point however miss martha--if the dog wasn't upstairs, because if the dog was accustomed to said person then perhaps the crime might have been an inside job--

i think these people were smart to advise their neighbors and humble to admit their mistake ---community alertness is the essence of effective crime watch--

in other areas after a rash of burglaries- the police are the ones who sometimes will alert the neighborhood via telephone or memo-i recall a case approximately and a year and a half ago where the West Orange Police had a rash of burglaries on Pleasant Valley Way(same MO) whereupon they left an automated telephone message alerting their citizens to check their windows and doors and vehicles-

that person was eventually caught and had been responsible for numerous numerous burglaries.

To come into someones home while people are sleeping is BRAZEN-locked or unlocked -

some of your most valuable items are found near the back entrance of the home-kitchen or dinning room hutch-jewlery-cellphones-wads of cash placed on a counter-

-to burglarize an unlocked car is usually the work of a desperate junkie-or youth--although this career criminal in West Orange did both--

it would be smart to close all bottom windows of your home if you are in upstair rooms while you sleep since it is easy to slit sides of screens for a relatively easy (and fairly silent) break in --also bolting air conditoner units is another safe measure since pushing in a unit is simple and makes for ready access--

also in a world of undocumented workers care should be maintained in establishing habits that could be observed while you are unaware- and just because they don't speak English doesn't mean they don't understand it--(get a life if u comment on this one)

and as elementary as this one sounds while in the back yard keep front doors locked--
it's not stupidity-such a cruel word to use to want to sleep in your own house free from harm or invasion-

-it is however wise to take certain measures to avoid it.

Posted by: cstarling | Aug 22, 2005 6:04:16 PM

Clarise, darling. How's that FBI career going?

Posted by: H.L. | Aug 22, 2005 6:57:11 PM

Never mind losing your ipod or cell phone because you left your car door unlocked, overnight or otherwise. Imagine what could happen if a child, on a day in the upper 90's like we have had in the past few weeks, found their way into your car and for whatever reason couldn't get out. Please, think about this whenever you get out of your car, even if its in middle of the day and you plan on going out again!

Posted by: amyb | Aug 22, 2005 7:08:55 PM

retired i am afraid due to weird virus-miss it horribly if you couldn't tell-not quite quantico but close enough--yes toddlers and cars the two don't mix well----i'm afraid that the old saying never wake a sleeping child isn't true if they are in a car.

Posted by: cstarling | Aug 22, 2005 7:22:26 PM

h.l let me know if ur in town we can have some dinner perhaps?

Posted by: cstarling | Aug 22, 2005 10:35:47 PM

Clarise darling. I prefer to savor the anticipation of a delicacy such as yourself for as long as possible. How about next week?

Posted by: h.l. | Aug 23, 2005 7:51:03 AM

I too was robbed Wed. night/thurs. morn. Grove St. near Bellvue Ave. Just moved back to Montclair after a 2 year stint in Glen Ridge. When I left two years ago, the garbage men still dragged the cans to the curb. That is what I thought I heard when my gate was pushed open just before sunrise. My two crazy dogs slept beside me and didn't move. The side door was unlocked because I had removed the knob to facilitate moving, and had been too lazy to fix it (until tomorrow...). Walking past that door and peering inside you would have seen only one thing: a laptop computer, hence, the only thing taken. Welcome back, lesson learned.

PS When I looked up and down the street all the neighbors garbage cans were in fact at the curb, so I assumed it was the garbage men I heard, and was relieved when the dogs didn't maul him (still amazing to me). Is it possible they saw something or someone?

Posted by: zig | Aug 23, 2005 7:55:23 AM

I find this thread very disturbing. Having grown up in a more urban part of New Jersey I ALWAYS lock my doors and car and never leave valuables in view of any window. However, recently I've noticed strangers using my property to make a short cut to an adjacent street. It's unnerving to look out into one's backyard at night and see strangers cutting through in light of the ongoing crime problems in town. I am not sure what the police response to this problem will be but I do plan on calling them.

Posted by: Denise O'Shea | Aug 23, 2005 8:10:04 AM

using someone elses property is still tresspassing-garbage men in montclair never come before dawn-unless you have some maggot forming meat you meant to roll out first thing in the morning--even though you feel some what at fault about your laptop i hope you called police and reported incident-and it wouldn't hurt to introduce yourself to neighbors--nor ask them if they saw anything unusual on the dawn in question--as for you HL -i'll call you-

Posted by: cstarling | Aug 23, 2005 8:49:08 AM

I lock my doors when I'm IN the house. Am I paranoid?

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