NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – After a rash of car burglaries on the east side of North Plainfield last weekend, police created an anti-burglary suppression detail to address the issue. Police Chief William Parenti made the changes to the regular patrol schedule after reading his daily report on Monday.
“I instructed the criminal investigation department to increase the patrol,” said Parenti. “We wanted to put some plain clothes officers out there, and to have visibility in areas where the burglaries might happen."
Parenti notes that car burglaries often happen in a focused area, with the burglar walking one direction down a street and checking car doors. Police visibility can be effective in reducing these types of crimes.
The new detail involves a redistribution of current patrols, and moving some officers who may have been involved in other activities. For instance, Officer David Dzibela is a community officer and is often assigned to speak to neighborhood groups or participate in the Summer Teen Evening Program. However, he was asked to take part in the detail to help address the recent burglaries.
Though the recent break-ins were near North Jackson Avenue, Dzibela took his patrol up to the Regency Village complex north of Route 22 because he knew apartments are a draw for such thieves. At 3:26 on Wednesday morning he saw Joseph Fears of Plainfield and Justice Brister of Philadelphia, PA acting “suspiciously” . During questioning both gave false names to Dzibela and were arrested for hindering an investigation. Both had backpacks and flashlights, but neither had any stolen items in their possession.
After running their true names Dzibela discovered a warrant for Fears in Ocean County and he was turned over to the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department. Brister was issued a summons and released on his own recognizance.
“There’s no evidence they were doing car burglaries and we’re continuing the patrols,” said Parenti. “But there haven’t been any more burglaries since the arrests were made.”
Police in multiple Somerset and Union County communities have reported similar sprees, with one or more people walking past parked cars looking for valuables in sight. They break into as many cars as they can as quickly as possible and then move one.
Many people leave global positioning units, MP3 players or other electronics visible in their cars. Parenti recommends that if a car owner must have something of value in their car they keep it in the trunk or the glove box even when parked in the driveway of their home.
“A GPS or iPod is quick cash for these thieves,” said Parenti. “When they are visible on a car seat it’s an open invitation for someone to break in. The best prevention is to have nothing visible in your car to entice the thieves.”
Parenti also notes that drivers need to be careful not to leave expensive items visible even when just going into a store for a few minutes. In many cases thieves will walk parking lots looking like any other shopper, but really looking for a quick score of a camera or other item.