State College police gathering evidence in burglary spree

Police continue pursuing leads in a rash of forced-entry burglaries in State College.

Investigators have collected evidence from at least one of the crime scenes, Lt. Chris Fishel said Monday.

Borough police are investigating 22 burglaries that occurred between Nov. 25 and Thursday. The incidents are “likely connected,” police said.

Police Chief Tom King has said burglary sprees such as this are not common but have occurred before. They usually take place when students are off for Thanksgiving, semester or spring breaks.

Fishel such sprees have typically occurred downtown. But most of the buildings being targeted in the current rash are south of Beaver Avenue, in “off the beaten path” locations, he said.

That could be because downtown apartment buildings have increased security, adding camera systems and hiring guards, Fishel said.

“They are targeting places that may not have video systems in the hallway, maybe formerly houses converted to apartment buildings,” he said.

Police have said the number of reported burglaries could increase when Penn State students return from break.

“There are likely more that will get reported when students return later next week,” King said Saturday.

Police believe burglars may have knocked on doors to see if residents were in their homes. They are asking residents to report any suspicious activity, which could include:

•  Unknown people knocking on doors of houses or apartments for no apparent reason or knocking on doors of multiple houses or apartments;

•  Occupied vehicles parked in alleyways or along the street for an extended period of time;

•  Vehicles driving down a street or through a neighborhood slowly or driving down a street or through a neighborhood several times; or

•  People inexplicably loitering in a residential area.

State College police can be reached at 234-7150, and residents also may call 911. Police are asking that if residents discover a potential burglary in progress to not enter the home, but to contact police immediately.