Home break-ins up nearly 50 percent

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Police are bumping up patrols, keeping a close eye on some near West End neighborhoods after a string of home and car break-ins.

Police say crooks hit more than a dozen neighborhoods from Willow Lawn to Three Chopt since late June. But this is a small part of a bigger problem. In areas like the Museum District, police say the number of car break-in's are going up.

Sector 311 - It consists of 23 neighborhoods including some of Richmond's most popular, like Carytown, Stony Point, Willow Lawn, and the University of Richmond. But since January this sector has seen almost a 50 percent increase in home break-ins. Break down the numbers and that's 19 more than last year, to date.

"They broke that window and came in and turned the dead bolt there," Jan Cook.

Cook and her daughter live in the Three Chopt neighborhood. She was one of several victims targeted when a rash of home and car break-ins occurred in the last week of July.

"Violated, we weren't comfortable here after that what so ever, especially my daughter," said Cook.

Police say some of the break-ins could be connected and they are working on a suspect.

"Right now I got a white male and we have some other things we're working on that I can't discuss at this particular time," said Lt. Michael Stith, of Richmond Police Department.

Hoping for an arrest, Cook says it's hard to move on after that experience.

"Someone's been in the house, things were in a huge mess, as we came home all the DVDs were out of the entertainment center, glass was broken in the back and the dog was locked in the bedroom," said Cook.

For new neighbors, the news is a surprise.

"I'm actually shocked, this isn't the kind of neighborhood that I would expect to see anything like that happen," said Jennifer Pufky, a resident of Three Chopt.

But for long time dwellers in sector 311, it's become a problem they hope will get better soon.

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