Waterloo police seeing spike in burglaries, thefts - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo police seeing spike in burglaries, thefts

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Police in Waterloo are seeing a spike in burglaries this summer.  In just the past week, police logs show 124 reports of property theft and home burglaries.

And authorities believe a group of people are working together to commit the crimes, scouting out possible houses to hit when people aren't home.  They're nabbing everything from easy targets, like unsecured bicycles outside of homes, to pricey electronic items including computers and TVs.  Police say there's a lot you can do to help prevent these crimes and to catch the people responsible.

Amanda Iehl bought a new bike for her eight-year-old daughter Peyton a few months ago, and not long after someone stole it, right out of the family's back yard.  Iehl bought a replacement bicycle just last week and someone stole it too.

"It's sad. These kids don't realize people work to get these things.  It just doesn't come free, you know.  And now we've got a heartbroken little girl who doesn't have a bike," Iehl said.

Several of Iehl's neighbors have also had property stolen, and that's concerning for the mom of five. 

"It worries me about break-ins in the house.  I mean, how far are they going to go?" said Iehl.

She has reason to be concerned.  In several Waterloo neighborhoods, dozens of homes have been broken into this summer.  Thieves have made out with some valuable items, some which are particularly concerning to police.

"The biggest concern we have right now with these burglaries is the firearms getting stolen.  We'd really appreciate if people would keep their firearms unloaded and in a gun safe," Dan Trelka, Waterloo Director of Safety Services said.

And there's more you can do to help prevent these crimes.

"A lot of these end up a door unlocked or somebody simply kicking the door open but if we install the right door with the right locking mechanisms. They are more difficult to kick open. So, the homeowners have some responsibility in ensuring that their property is well guarded," said Trelka.

Often, burglars will scout out neighborhoods before break-ins, so watch for suspicious activity, and report it to police.

Police say it's also important to keep quiet about plans to leave town.  Burglars are known to patrol sites like Facebook, looking for information about your vacations.  And if you're concerned about leaving your home vacant while away, Waterloo Police can do periodic checks of the area to make sure everything's okay.

The newly established Cedar Valley Crimestoppers is looking for information that could lead to arrests in these burglary cases.  If you can help in their investigation, call toll free 855-300-TIPS.

You can remain anonymous, and cash rewards may be available for your help.

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