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Wheeling break-ins, burglaries on the rise

Updated: Monday, January 13 2014, 05:00 PM EST

By: NEWS9 and Crissy Clutter
WHEELING, W. Va. --

Wheeling police are on high alert after an increasing number of break-ins, burglaries and an armed robbery.

Officials said the crimes happened across the city in homes and businesses and may or may not be related. The common bond, however, is a theft of cash and prescription drugs.

"A lot of them appear that someone has been at your house or knows your pattern," said Wheeling Police Sgt. Greg McKenzie.

Last week, a South Wheeling woman told police she woke up to a stranger standing at the foot of her bed with a crowbar. The man stole two computers and fled.

Wheeling Island residents said break-ins in their area have gotten out of control.

"People in desperate times will do desperate measures to get money or items to sell it, pawn it, do whatever they can do provided their fix for themselves," McKenzie said.

But it's not just homeowners being hit. It mid-December, police said a local pool hall was robbed. Days later, Gumby's on River Road was robbed. A female clerk there was struck in the face with a gun, and surveillance video shows a man escaping with cash.

McKenzie said police have some clues, but "unfortunately we are at the mercy of the State Police lab. We only have one in West Virginia. We try to get it back as quick as possible, and we know the victims want a conclusion as quick as possible."

He asked people to report anything they think is out of the ordinary in their neighborhoods, and he warned the public to pay attention to their own actions to stay safe.

"The best way to prevent it is to make sure your house is properly secured. Don't post on Facebook or any social media items you've purchased, like a new television. Then you enable people to know there's an expensive item in your house," McKenzie said.

Anyone with information about the crimes already committed is asked to contact the Lauttamus Security Crime Busters Tipline at 800-862-BUST.

Wheeling break-ins, burglaries on the rise


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