String of burglaries reminds citizens to lock windows, doors

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Jake Magee
Tuesday, July 8, 2014

JANESVILLE--The warm weather means homeowners open windows and doors to keep cool. Unfortunately, burglars look for unsecured entry points when trying to make a quick buck, Janesville Police Department Sgt. Brian Donohoue said.

The criminals who burglarized homes on South Pine Road, North Pine Street and North Adams Street in June may have spotted their targets from the street or sidewalk. A laptop or phone sitting by a window is a prime opportunity for burglars, Donohoue said.

“The suspect is looking for opportunities with a target in mind: purses, wallets, things they can see,” he said.

Nina Perona knows first-hand the frustrations of being a burglary victim. Thieves stole an iPhone, a purse and three wallets from her home during the one late-June night she decided not to secure her windows.

“The one time I didn't (lock up) was the one time I got broken into,” she said.

Nina's husband, Dean, woke up to find the cut screen of a kitchen window and a wide-open backdoor. The criminals had cut their way inside and left through the door, taking the Peronas' valuables with them.

Officers recovered Nina's purse and Dean's wallet the next day. The thieves had tossed them in the neighborhood after stealing the money inside.

The Peronas have a dog and a motion-detecting light, but they didn't deter the criminals.

Nina set up a neighborhood watch meeting at her home to educate her neighbors about how to avoid burglaries. She hopes to petition for more public lights for her street, which only has two.

“There is one in the middle and one on the end (of the street), but all the other houses in between, it's dark. I mean, it's prime pickings,” she said.

Thieves have stolen flags and plants from her yard in the past. She keeps an outdoor wicker chair chained to a post because she thinks it would be stolen otherwise.

Nina feels angry and violated.

“I should be able to put my purse wherever I want in my house and not be worried about it. Now, really, I gotta take it upstairs with me?” she said.

The criminals aren't smashing windows or breaking locks. Instead, they cut screens of open windows or look for unlocked doors, Donohoue said.

“They don't make a lot of noise. They're not doing a lot of damage at the entry point,” he said. “They don't wanna be seen, and they don't wanna be heard.”

Donohoue encourages residents to keep valuables out of sight of those on the street and to lock all doors and windows when away from home or sleeping. Cars in garages should be kept locked with the windows rolled up, he said.

The police department encourages anyone who witnesses suspicious activity in their neighborhood to call its nonemergency number at (608) 757-2244.

Meanwhile, several other burglaries were reported along the 3300 and 3400 blocks of La Mancha Drive and the 2100 and 2200 blocks of Browning Drive to garages or sheds. In each instance, nothing was reported stolen, according to police reports.

Last updated: 4:45 pm Tuesday, July 8, 2014

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