WICOMICO CO., Md. - It's an experience John Robinson says he unfortunately shares with many in Wicomico County.
A burglar went inside his home and stole "some cash and some jewelry," according to Robinson. But at his store, he says burglars will try to sell back those stolen items for quick cash.
To stop this, Robinson keeps two handy records: a copy of customer's driver's license and a "Do Not Buy" list, compiled from residents with prior theft arrests that he shares with Crazy Louie's Pawn Shop.
"We will not buy from [any person on the list]," said Robinson. "We just send them out the door."
But that's not enough to stop the crime from happening. In 2011, there were almost 900 burglaries in Wicomico County. While the crime was on a downward trend for several years, Sgt. David Owens of Wicomico Bureau of Investigation says, as of Sept. 19th, there was already as maybe burglaries as all of last year.
"The people that are casing neighborhoods, there will be people that will leave their house to run to the dump or pick up lunch and bring it back, gone an hour and a half, been a victim," said Owens.
Owens says that more than 90 percent are stealing to satisfy their drug habit. State's attorney Matt Maciarello says they see the same trend when trying to lock up offenders.
"[Criminals will buy] a 20 dollar pack of heroin from the dealer and where do they get that $20? Well, they go break into a car and they steal it or they steal an iPad," Maciarello said.
Finding the stolen iPad and jewelry may be easier than giving it back, says Maciarello. Some ways he and Owens say will help investigators re-locate lost items include writing down serial numbers for all electronic devices and taking pictures of jewelry.
But Owens says this only protects you after the crime. More times than not, burglary suspects will scope out a spot, then later on, go to front doors and knock to see if they get an answer, says Owens.
"A car that's normal to your area or your neighborhood that is driving in a manner that makes them look deliberate: they're slow and they're studying, they are really looking at the properties," Owens said.
"If you happen to be home during the day and there are activities taking place, then that's a call that needs to be made [to police]."
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