Burglars Targeting Abandoned, Boarded Up Homes
In one incident, woman claimed she burglarized an abandoned house because she was "broke."
A Lincoln Park woman has been charged with burglary after police reported she broke into an abandoned Brookside Road home Friday afternoon.
Officer Robert Franco responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle — a black van — parked at the end of River Road, according to a police report.
Police found the vehicle in front of an abandoned home at 31 Brookside Road and discovered that the rear door was forced open and left ajar, Franco reported.
Inside, a woman, later identified as Jodi Luke, fled from police, running over a nearby railroad track embankment, Franco reported.
Franco caught up with Luke and ordered her to stop, the report states.
Luke complied and voluntarily admitted breaking into the house, Franco said in the report.
“I broke into the house, I know I shouldn’t have, but I’m broke,” Franco reported Luke stated.
Luke was carrying a bag with various tools in it, including a hammer, pipe cutters, gloves, and a battery-powered lantern, the report states.
Luke told police that her friend, Pamela Haken, also of Lincoln Park, owned the vehicle, Franco reported.
Police found Haken in the area of the burglarized house; the vehicle was towed to police headquarters for further investigation, the report states.
“It’s a sign of the times we’re living in,” said Detective Capt. James Clarke.
In addition to the burglary charge, Luke was charged with theft and possession of burglary tools, Clarke said.
Haken was charged with burglary, theft, and possession of burglary tools, Clarke said. The women are due in municipal court June 28.
Police responded to a similar burglary on Cook Road Friday morning.
The owner of a house on the street reported that that his daughter’s flute was removed from a shed on the property, Officer Jeffrey Stamler reported.
Four glass vases that were sitting on a picnic table and valued at about $25 each were either broken or stolen, Stamler reported.
Stamler reported that the owner of the house saw what appeared to be teenagers from the area on the property shining a flashlight about two weeks ago.
In another incident, the owner of a home on Alps Road reported to police that he believed the house next door had been burglarized, according to a report.
Police reported that the house, located at 454 Alps Road, has been vacant for approximately three years and that the owner of a nearby house inspects the property every Sunday.
On June 17, the owner noticed that a rear basement window was missing, and a sliding door near the kitchen was unlocked, according to the report.
Police reported that there were no appliances in the kitchen, missing faucets in the bathroom and kitchen, a vanity missing from another bathroom, and copper pipes were missing from the basement.
Bank of America, the report states, owns the house.
Officer Eugene Foster responded to Brookside Drive Sunday morning on a report a boarded up house on the street was burglarized, a police incident report states.
Foster reported speaking to a man who noticed that a basement door and a latched lock on the front door were pried open.
Foster reported he noticed copper was missing from the basement, but was unable to determine if any other items were missing from the house.
The incidents are the latest in a rash of reported burglaries and attempted burglaries in the township.
Police reported that a dozen burglaries occurred in the Valley section of town between April 25 and May 30.
Jewelry was taken from homes in several of these incidents.
Local and county law enforcement offiicial are hosting an information session on Saturday to discuss the incidents. Chief John Reardon and members of the Passaic County Sheriff's Office and county Prosecutor's Office are scheduled to attend.
Police urge anyone who sees anything suspicious to call the department at 973-694-0600.