BEDFORD — Police are investigating 21 burglaries this year, and they’re asking residents to be the department’s eyes and ears to help stop crime.
About 35 people attended a two-hour informational meeting Wednesday at the Safety Complex. Police Chief John Bryfonski, Lt. Michael Bernard, Detective Matt Fleming and Detective Lt. Michael Griswold offered tips on how people can safeguard their homes and properties. Officer Amy Champagne suggested residents form Neighborhood Watch groups.
Police warned residents not to interrupt a burglary in progress. People should be aware of their surroundings, and if they come home to an open door or other signs of break-in, do not enter the home.
“Don’t confront them. If you can leave the home safely, do it. Go to a neighbor’s house and call 911. If not, find a hiding space and stay there,” said Fleming. “Some people may want to stay and duke it out with them, but we don’t want that. If you want to help us, get as much detail as you can, and let us do what we do best and catch them for you.”
Griswold said the recent rash of burglaries on Ministerial Road, Boynton Street, Lynn Drive, Quincy Drive and Nancy Lane occurred between 2 and 7 p.m., which is unusual.
“They usually wait until you leave for work and enter,” he said.
Burglars may be watching your home, but residents should take steps to let criminals know they’re also being watched. Police said residents should report anything suspicious, especially if they repeatedly see a slow-moving vehicle in their neighborhood. Also, suspicious visitors at your door should be a red flag if they ask for directions, or say they’re looking for a lost pet. Some may say they used to live in your home and can they come in to see if it looks the same. Odds are they are targeting your home, said Fleming.
Although the case of Dr. Eduardo Quesada and his wife, Sonia, was not mentioned at the meeting, it is still on many residents’ minds. On Nov. 24, 2012, two intruders attacked the couple as they returned to their 7 Proclamation Court home. Dr. Quesada, 52, was stabbed multiple times in the head with a screwdriver, and Sonia was sexually and physically assaulted. The couple’s 2-year-old daughter was unharmed.
Police said the motive appeared to be financial gain, and there was no indication the Quesadas had any connection to their attackers. Six weeks after the home invasion, Sonia Quesada was found dead at her mother-in-law’s home in Bedford of a drug overdose. In April, Charles Normil, 32, was charged with two counts of attempted murder and first-degree assault, and one count of aggravated felonious sexual assault, falsifying physical evidence and burglary. He is awaiting trail. Police said a second intruder is in federal custody and the case is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Burglars usually look for computers, iPhones, iPods, video games, jewelry and other items that can be quickly sold for money to buy drugs, said Fleming.
“How long do you think it would take me to get into your home and grab these items? Under 10 minutes,” Fleming said. “Burglars aim for small items they can easily sell. They don’t want to hold on to large items for an extended amount of time.”
In addition to making sure doors and windows are locked, residents should ensure air conditioners are secured from the inside, landscaping is kept trimmed to prevent hiding places, use motion-detecting lights and watch what they post on social media while on vacation. If burglars see your car is unlocked in the driveway, they’ll bet your home is unsecured as well, said Fleming.
Bedford police offers a vacant property check, where officers will keep watch over your home while you’re away. Police will also come to your home and assess where you are most vulnerable.
“One burglary in Bedford is one too many,” said Bryfonski. “Look around and see what you can do within your means to protect your home or business. We can’t put a bubble over Bedford to prevent crime. We want you to feel safe and stay secure.”
To form a Neighborhood Watch group, residents should contact Officer Amy Champagne at 472-5113, ext. 211. She will meet with residents, offer tips and publish neighborhood newsletters.