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updated: 7/18/2014 5:06 PM

Arlington Hts. neighborhood on the alert after burglaries

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A string of home burglaries in the Scarsdale Estates neighborhood have led Arlington Heights police to organize a community meeting next month to talk with residents and offer tips for keeping their homes safe.

Since January there has been one burglary each in February, March and July, Cmdr. Nathan Hayes said. Another attempted burglary occurred early in July, but the intruders were scared off by an alarm.

"One (burglary) is too many if you're the victim," Hayes said. No arrests have been made and all the break-ins are still active investigations.

Police could not speculate if the burglaries are connected.

Betty Underwood and her husband were out of town when they got an email from their alarm system that someone had entered their home at 5:29 p.m. July 5.

A burglar got in through a back window, she said. The police got to the house four minutes later, but the intruder was already gone, without taking anything.

"I think everyone is really concerned," Betty said. "We never set our alarm before December. Now I set it every time I leave the house."

The idea that the neighborhood is not entirely safe is a change in thinking for residents, who previously may have felt their streets were safe.

"I've left the garage door open and never had a problem, but now you have to be aware," said Craig Thompson, former president of the neighborhood association.

"It seems like some of the really large homes have been targeted."

In the March burglary more than $250,000 in jewelry was taken, according to a report.

The Underwoods sent a letter to their neighbors, offering some advice.

"Set your alarm every time you leave the house and give the police a chance to catch the burglars," they wrote.

"Don't keep your valuables where they expect to find them. Remove valuable jewelry from your bedrooms. In the successful robberies, the thieves have ransacked bedrooms, closets and bathrooms."

The meeting between residents and Arlington Heights police has been tentatively set for 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 14, at village hall, 33 S. Arlington Heights Road.

"Everyone is scratching their heads trying to figure out who the heck could be doing this, but the more important thing is to just make the neighborhood less attractive," Betty Underwood said.

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