Detectives in Derry are investigating potential links between five burglaries in which money and jewellery were stolen and homes damaged in the city over the weekend.
Homes in Culmore, Hatmore and Buncrana Road areas were targeted over the weekend.
Detective Sergeant Gavin McLaughlin said: “Just after 7pm Saturday 31st August, it was reported entry had been forced to a house in Cooleen Park in Culmore sometime between 5:40pm and the time the report was made to police. Rooms had been ransacked and a sum of money had been taken.
“At approximately 7:35pm, a second burglary at a house in Cooleen Park was reported; that entry had been forced to a house and a sum of money and jewellery were stolen. A door was also damaged. Jewellery reported stolen included an engagement ring, a gold necklace, a gold ring and a gold locket and chain.
“Some 40 minutes later, we received a report of a third burglary, this time at a house in the Templegrove area of Buncrana Road. Sometime between 11am and 7:30pm yesterday, entry was forced to the property. A number of cupboards and drawers were ransacked. It’s not known what, if anything, was stolen. Damage was caused to a door.
“On Sunday at 10:55am, we received a report of a burglary at a house in Hatmore Park where entry had been forced and a sum of money and a carton of cigarettes were taken. It’s believed this occurred sometime between 9:30am and the time the report was made to us.
“Just after 11am, we received a report that between 9:45am and the time the report was made to us, entry had been forced to a house in Shandon Park, also in the Buncrana Road area of the city. The house had been ransacked and damage was caused to a door. It’s not known at this stage what, if anything, was taken.
“Our investigations are at an early stage, however, at this time, we believe all five burglaries are linked and I want to appeal to anyone who was in any of these areas around the time the burglaries are believed to have occurred to get in touch with us.
“Did you see any strange vehicles in the area or any persons acting suspiciously or anything out of the ordinary? If you offered jewellery similar to that reported stolen, or cigarettes in suspicious circumstances, please call detectives at Strand Road on 101, quoting reference number 1647 of 31/08/19.”
Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”
Detective Sergeant McLaughlin added: “We are aware of the impact that burglaries can have on individual householders and how distressing it can be for someone who has been the victim of a burglary.
“I want to take this opportunity to encourage everyone to report suspicious activity to us; no matter how insignificant it may seem. The report of a suspicious vehicle, or people acting strangely in your neighbourhood, can help us to prevent and detect crime. We would like all of you to help us spread the message.
“Please ensure all houses, sheds and garages are secured, particularly during the hours of darkness. Do not keep valuables or large amounts of cash in your home, and remember, safes are able to be removed. Do not leave any tools/ladders outside which can be used to access your property. Do not answer the door during the hours of darkness unless you are expecting someone or you have a security latch and can check identity first.
“Keep an eye on your property and please report to the police any suspicious callers or vehicles. This includes cold callers or services being offered at inflated prices. If you do have CCTV systems, please ensure that they are working, and please look out for elderly/vulnerable neighbours and check on them regularly.”
“If you would like further advice on home security you can contact your local Crime Prevention Officer on 101.”
Report any suspicious activity/concerns to 101 and in the case of an emergency please call 999.