State College police offer tips to secure homes during spring break

lfalce@centredaily.comMarch 6, 2014 

State College police want students heading out on spring break to remember the serial burglaries that occurred over previous breaks and take steps to avoid having them happen.

While Ryan Reichlin, 39, of State College, and Aaron Klinger, 24, of Centre Hall, were arrested in February in connection with the 24 break-ins and sit in Centre County Correctional Facility awaiting trial, police said their motive was to feed their heroin addictions. With heroin being a growing problem in the area, more burglaries could happen if people aren’t safe.

In a recent news release, police urged those leaving town — and their residences unoccupied — to take preventative steps.

First, don’t forget to lock up, remembering both doors and windows, and don’t forget to close curtains and blinds.

“Consider placing a bar or piece of wood on the track of a sliding glass door to assist with securing the door,” police said in a recent release.

Valuables such as jewelry or small electronics shouldn’t be left at home. If that’s not possible, police suggest keeping them out of plain sight. All valuables should have serial numbers recorded and GPS locators activated if appropriate.

Homes aren’t the only targets for thieves. Remember to lock car doors, police said, as well as to put cars in secure or well-lit areas. Again, remove valuables, such as small electronics or cash. And don’t leave things in plain view.

Piled up mail and stacks of newspapers can make it obvious that you aren’t home to read them. Stop them both until you come back. You can have your mail held by visiting holdmail.usps.com/holdmail. To have your Centre Daily Times subscription held, visit www. cdtsubscribe.com/vacation.html or call 888-237-3801.

It’s also a good idea to make sure your home has no shadowy corners where burglars could hide to gain entry. Police suggest sufficient lighting around all doors, including motion sensitive lights if possible or a timer that automatically turns on the exterior lights.

If you have a friend who isn’t heading out of town, consider having him or her stop by to make sure things are OK. Make sure that person has contact information for you in case something happens.

Other residents not leaving the area are important, too, say police. The department is asking that the public be vigilant about observing and reporting suspicious activity, including unknown people knocking on doors — especially multiple doors — for no apparent reason. Watch out for occupied vehicles parked for long periods, loiterers in residential areas and vehicles slowly cruising through neighborhoods, especially if the same vehicle is observed doing so several times.

Penn State police offer another important tip: Don’t advertise on social media that you’ll be leaving town.

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