By Larissa Dudkiewicz
Brenda Pucci was upset to learn her Baden home had been burglarized.
She made the discovery Wednesday after her 11-year-old son complained of his cell phone missing. She soon found an iPad had also disappeared, along with brand-new Nike Elite socks.
“If he wouldn’t have had his cellphone, I wouldn’t have noticed anything missing,” said Pucci of Mellon Avenue.
Baden Police said it’s the fourth confirmed home burglary within the past two months, and the recent crime activity has put many residents on edge.
More than 20 people attended a Neighborhood Crime Watch meeting in Baden Thursday night, anxious to discuss the burglaries that police say began happening just after Thanksgiving.
Baden Police Sgt. David Alvarez said the homes that have been targeted are concentrated in the borough’s south side. None of the homes showed signs of forced entry, leading police to believe thieves are targeting unsecured properties.
Alvarez assured residents that police are saturating the area with patrols, and working hard on their behalf.
“We have an idea of where the source is coming from,” he said.
Margie Lease, co-chairwoman of the neighborhood watch group, passed out fliers to warn residents.
Lease said she was startled on Wednesday night when a stranger unexpectedly knocked on her door. She didn’t answer, but took note as a tall, thin white male in jeans and a black hooded jacket turned and headed off down the street. She immediately called the police.
Lease said the male had a scruffy face and didn’t appear to be a kid.
“He was maybe in his 30s,” she said.
Pucci said her door was unlocked for her son to get in after school, which presented an opportunity for someone to slip in. She was able to track her son’s cell phone to a Wolfe Street address in using the phone finder. She said the phone and iPad were recovered, but the socks are still missing.
Alvarez said police plan to charge two juveniles with receiving stolen property, but don’t have enough evidence to file burglary charges. He asked residents to remain diligent and to report suspicious activity in their neighborhoods.
“I’m a firm believer that everybody gets caught eventually. We get them one way or another,” he said.
Baden Neighborhood Watch
Margie Lease and Richard Gallagher started the Baden Neighborhood Watch group in June 2011, after Lease said she became fed up with having her car broken into.
In addition to reporting suspicious activity, the co-chairs offered other home security tips, advising residents to look out for a neighbor’s mail or newspapers piling up, and to take notice of elderly shut-ins who haven’t been seen over a period of days.
The group meets at 7 p.m. every second Thursday of the month in the community room at the municipal building, 149 State St. To report suspicious activity, call the Baden Police Department at 724-869-2813.