Growing number of burglaries reported in Northeast Ohio cities

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NORTH RIDGEVILLE, Ohio (WJW)-- North Ridgeville and Willoughby Hills became the latest Northeast Ohio communities to warn residents about burglaries.

Diane Proboski, 74, said she was watching TV with her husband in their North Ridgevile home when they heard someone loosening the bulbs on their security lights. Then, they heard the sliding glass door open. Proboski's husband made sure the would-be intruders knew people were home, causing them to flee.

North Ridgeville police said they believe the attempted break-in is related to a series of daytime or early evening burglaries, during which the suspects gain entry by using a rock or brick to smash out a rear window or glass door.

Similar crimes have been reported in Strongsville, North Olmsted, Rocky River and Willoughby Hills.

A surveillance camera outside a home in Strongsville captured video of two suspects, who removed security spotlights, but fled when the homeowner's son turned on lights in the house.

In Willoughby Hills, police said a man tried to break into a woman's house while she was there Monday afternoon. The suspect knocked on the front door and when the resident didn't answer, he went to the backyard. Police said the victim heard a crash and spotted the male attempting to climb through a broken bathroom window. He fled when the woman screamed.

Police are concerned the crimes will lead to a dangerous confrontation.

"It's a surprise factor, in other words if this person believes no one is home, goes in and obviously when there's emotion and there's surprise, bad things can happen. Either to the homeowner or the person breaking into the residence," said North Ridgeville Police Chief Mike Freeman.

The Willoughby Hills Police Department offered these tips:

  • Be vigilant and aware of your surroundings, even in the privacy of your own home.
  • Don't be shy about calling 911 if you see something or someone acting suspiciously in and around your neighborhoods. Your WHPD officers are on patrol 24/7 and we will gladly respond to any type of suspicious activity calls.
  • If you receive a knock on the door, day or night, and you do not recognize the person - again, call the police and we'll check it out for you.
  • Buddy up with your trusted neighbors and look out for each other. If you see someone around their yard/house and you don't recognize them - call us.
  • Consider having packages delivered to your place of employment, or at least schedule the delivery for a time you will be home.
  • Keep your windows and doors locked when not in use.
  • Ensure that your security system and / or security cameras are in proper working order.
  • Give the police department a call and notify us when you are away for extended periods; we have no problem checking up on your house for you. Let your extended family know too, so that they can keep watch as well.
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