Police investigating similarities between home break-ins in east - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Police investigating similarities between home break-ins in eastern Henrico

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HENRICO, VA (WWBT) -

Henrico Police are looking at the connections among three home break-ins in eastern Henrico. In just the past two days, officers have been called to three homes in the Watts neighborhood which is off of Mechanicsville Turnpike.  Copper piping was taken from one home.

Right now police are looking into the possibility that these crimes are related while neighbors on Elkridge Lane say they're taking steps to prevent this from happening again.

Work to renovate one of the homes on Elkridge Lane is underway.  Even with the tools and clutter, it's in far better shape than the homes down the street, two are now part of a police investigation.

"An officer came to my house, spoke to my fiancee and said that there were kids breaking into vacant houses, stealing stuff, vandalizing," says Heather Cullins.

Neighbors showed our news crew how they believe these suspected thieves are getting into the homes.  The fence to the back of these homes is broken, and all they have to do is walk through the high grass and the doors have been left open.  The two break-ins on Elkridge Lane were within 24 hours of each other and happened during the day. Then only a mile and a half away, in the 2300 block of Bluestone Drive, police were called to a similar crime. The homeowner tells police thieves took a lawn mower and copper piping; nobody was home at the time.

Cullins says she believes it's everyone's responsibility to prevent these crimes.  "The owner should say something to neighbors, "'Hey keep an eye on my place.'"

One person keeping an eye on improving the neighborhood is Arthur Harris, he understands the negative impact of a vacant home.  "It becomes a lost neighborhood, the people are afraid to go outside," he said.

Harris says he's already purchased several properties on Elkridge and is working to renovate the place.  "We're walking in and we're making these better than they've ever been," he said.

A process that takes time, but Harris believes the investment is worth it.

The number one tip from police, you should call 911 if you notice any suspicious activity in your neighborhood.  Other tips: fix unsecured doors and windows and invest in an alarm system that can be heard if someone tries to break in.

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