When Pamela Zalusky’s home was burglarized last year, she said it took something from her.
“It used to be my home. I felt safe there,” Zalusky said. “Now it’s just a house.”
Zalusky attended the inaugural meeting of the Concerned Citizens of Wayne Wednesday. The group was recently formed as a result of the rash of burglaries that occurred in the township earlier this year and late last year.
Local and county law enforcement personnel and representatives from the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office, spoke at the meeting.
“It’s a very personal thing when a person’s house is violated like that,” said Wayne Police Chief John Reardon.
Speakers told residents steps they can take to reduce the risk of their homes being burglarized.
“We need to take a proactive approach when it comes to preventing these burglaries,” said Wayne Police Officer Scott Rappaport, a member of the township’s Community Policing Unit.
Some tips are:
- Don’t keep jewelry in a bedroom.
- Check that door and window locks are secure before leaving the house.
- Leave lights and a stereo on before leaving. Many times, officials said, burglars and scam artists will knock on the door. They may leave if they hear noise inside the house.
- Take photos of your belongings, especially jewelry. If a burglary does occur, you will have proof of what was stolen.
- Keep receipts for expensive and important belongings.
- Bring in newspapers and letters. If you’re not going to be home for a few days, ask a neighbor or family member to collect them for you.
it doesn't take long for someone to become a victim. Officials said thieves can get into a residence, take jewelry, and leave in less than a minute. They are mostly looking for small, valuable items that are easy to carry: jewelry, watches, cameras, and cash. Often, they know right where it is kept.
“The days of people carrying televisions down the street, that doesn’t happen anymore,” said Detective Sgt. Thomas Higginson. charged two individuals, and , earlier this year in connection with some of the burglaries.
Porcelli was suspected in numerous other burglaries in Passaic, Bergen and Morris counties. He was arrested after police found him hiding in a storage area behind the furniture store on Black Oak Ridge Road after receiving a call that a a home on Sheffield Road had been broken into and the burglar had fled on foot.
Farquhar was linked to a burglary because of a fur coat and Christmas gifts police found in his possession. The items were taken from a house Dec. 1.
Officials stressed the need for cooperation and teamwork from residents in combating crime.
“For us to catch them, we need you to help us,” Akins said. “Nothing is too stupid to call us about.”
For more information about crime prevention or to report a crime, call the police department at 973-694-0600 or the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office at 973-389-5900.