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Thefts from cars at nursing homes on the rise in Bedford

BEDFORD — Several car break-ins at area nursing homes have police on the watch and some health care workers on edge.

Bedford Police chief John Bryfonski said about seven break-ins have occurred since last week. Ridgewood Center and The Arbors nursing homes were two of the targets. At least one break-in occurred at Hackett Hill Healthcare Center in Manchester, where thieves broke into two cars.

&#';I am severely worried because I clearly don&#';t have the money to fix the windshield,&#'; said Catrina Anderson, an Eliot Hospital phlebotomist who travels to several area nursing homes each morning, including the three that were subject to the burglaries.

&#';They are waiting till there&#';s no one in sight and coming in and smashing the windows and running off with ladies&#'; purses and personal belongings,&#'; Anderson said, adding that she&#';s constantly on alert.

Anderson noted that the facilities targeted are set back from the street.

&#';I just don&#';t understand people&#';s mindsets. I find it devastating.&#';

Bryfonski said police are investigating leads and will look at putting patrols in the area where these crimes have occurred.

The break-ins come at a time of rising property crimes in Bedford. Bryfonski said prescription drug abuse is a key factor behind a significant amount of burglaries and robberies.

But it&#';s too early to tell on this case, he said. &#';It&#';s the vagaries of criminal behavior. It&#';s someone seeking targets of opportunity for quick and easy money.&#';

Bryfonski urged residents to contact police over any suspicious activity in nursing home parking lots.

&#';Let&#';s keep an eye on Bedford, and if you see something give us a call,&#'; he said.

The Bedford police can be reached at 472-5113.