During the past several months, Clinton Countians have been returning home from work to find they have been robbed.
Clinton County Sheriff Rick Riddle and his deputies, have been working the case since the initial incident and they now have several suspects in the string of robberies.
“We have a couple of leads on several of them, but that’s about all we got right now,” Riddle said. “If anybody out there has any information, or if they’ve seen anything, call us and let us know.”
Riddle said the best defense for keeping a home safe is by using dead bolt locks and asking neighbors to keep an eye out.
Riddle said in the robbery his department worked last week, a neighbor saw the robbery occur, but didn’t call in at the time it was happening, “But we got a description of the vehicle and the two males who were in it.”
Both Riddle and Deputy Steve Martin agreed there were similarities in the items that were being stolen.
“Every one of them lately has been in the middle of the day,” Martin said. “Pretty much all they are getting is electronics and medication.”
Riddle and Martin said in the case of the latest two robberies, where flat screen televisions were taken, the owners did have the serial numbers written down for further identification on the items.
“Most of the time people don’t have serial numbers on their televisions, but the last two did,” Martin said. “They are taking flat screen televisions, laptop computers … that’s what they are getting the most.”
Riddle said there has not been any similarities on the locations of the home robberies. Some have been inside the city limits and some have been out in the county.
“It’s really just mix and match on where they are occurring,” Riddle said. “At this point, we are still checking on leads. Basically the televisions, electronics, medications … we are keeping an eye out for these items.”
As for the homes, not a lot of damage to the doors or windows have been reported to the police. Riddle said there has not been a lot of damage inside the home either, just items being taken.
“They are hitting a lot of doors that don’t have dead bolts on them,” Martin said. “They can just use a credit card or something and stick in there and the door will open.”
Riddle said the dead bolt could possibly deter a thief because they don’t want to make a lot of noise getting in to someone’s home, causing attention.
“They don’t want to break windows or kick in a door. Especially if they are in a neighborhood where the neighbors are close.”
Riddle believes the rising number of break-ins is due somewhat to the shape the economy is in.
“Due to the economy, it’s going to get worse,” Riddle said. “Christmas is coming up and I had one caller this morning who said there were some Christmas presents stolen out of a truck. They went through the back glass. It’s getting close to Christmas and it’s going to get worse.”
In the last couple of months, Riddle said there has been six or seven incidences of people being robbed.
“We patrol the county pretty much all the time. A lot of times we don’t know which vehicles are supposed to be at different houses,” Riddle said. “These days and time you just don’t know. I think a lot of the stuff they are taking from here, they are taking out of the county and selling.”
Riddle said he and his staff are doing everything in their power to stop the thieves, but as of right now they are short-handed and he is looking to find more deputies.
“We are looking for new deputies, but it’s been hard to find someone,” Riddle said.
In order to keep your home safe this holiday season, security lights and cameras are most beneficial to have in the homes, but Riddle and Martin stressed the usage of dead bolts in order to keep thefts from breaking in.
If anyone has any information on previous robberies or has information on suspicious activity, call the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department at 387-5111.
Thieves spotted by neighbors, lost
Among the break-ins under investigation occurred at a parsonage in broad daylight on Halloween, Wednesday, October 31.
The parsonage that serves Lands Chapel and Pine Grove United Methodist Churches was broken into sometime, apparently in the morning hours, according to the pastor, Charles Tone.
Pastor Tone told the Clinton County News that he and his wife had left home early that morning to visit a church member who was having surgery at a Glasgow hospital that day.
After returning home, he and his wife came in through the garage door and noticed a kitchen cabinet open. Upon further review, the burglars had gone through the home, basically ransacking the residence, including pulling out and dumping drawers throughout the residence.
The pastor noted that among the items taken was his 55-year-old wedding band. He noted the ring had gotten too large for his finger and he was going to have it sized down. That was among several items of jewelry that was stolen during the break-in. Also taken was some rolled up coins and some older prescription pills that were no longer used. The largest item stolen from the residence was the couple’s flat screen TV.
Apparently some neighbors saw a vehicle backed up to the front door of the parsonage with it propped open, at approximately 11:30 a.m., the pastor said. Once the people in the vehicle were aware they had been spotted, they sped off. The neighbors gave chase but lost sight of the speeding vehicle, unable to obtain a license plate number. However, they described the vehicle as a silver Chevy Lumina. Law enforcement was not notified of the incident until the Tone’s returned home around 4:30 that afternoon.
Pastor Tone said the burglars appeared to have made entry through the basement door. He further noted the sheriff’s department was notified and investigated in the break-in, saying that several finger prints were taken. However, as of Monday night, none of the items stolen from the parsonage had been reported as being recovered.