Cluster of burglaries hits St. Joseph County

In parts of St. Joseph County, the closest house could be thousands of feet away. It's in these secluded areas that burglars have been breaking, entering and stealing.

The St. Joseph County Police Dept. said 39 homes in the southern part of the county have been burglarized since July 1. Thirteen of those occurred since August.

Lt. Matt Blank said the affected area is less concentrated than people may initially think. The 39 burglaries he talked about took place south of Jackson Rd. between the county's eastern and western borders.

The homes targeted were broken into during the daytime hours when no one was home.

Marilyn Gundlach was victim of an attempted burglary at her home on Millet Rd. She said someone broke the glass on her window and must have been scared off by the sound of her alarm, because when police arrived no one was there and nothing had been taken.

“Our road is very seldom traveled and they could've wiped us out if we didn't have the alarm system. The sheriff said the alarm system is what really saved us because all the other break-ins they hadn't had an alarm system,” Gundlach added.

Police told Gundlach’s has been a rash of similar crimes in the area. As a result, the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Dept. sent a concentration of patrols.

Neighbors living in and around Lakeville said they heard about the recent spike in break-ins. Jim Olsen said his own home was broken into several years ago, and he was “startled” to hear that someone was hitting up houses on Millet Rd. once again.

“I keep the buildings locked the best I can. So if the buildings are locked, they break in, hopefully insurance can take care of it,” Olsen added that these burglaries make him think twice about leaving home.

According to police, right now there is "nothing concrete" regarding who is perpetrating these break-ins. Blanks said it is hard to say whether or not they are related and added that oftentimes spikes in certain types of crimes do happen.

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