BASKING RIDGE - Two vehicles were broken into on Jan. 9 while parked at The Hills Highlands Village Center on Allen Road in The Hills section of the township, and purses containing cash and credit cards were stolen, the Bernards Township police department reported.

According to Police Lt. Detective Mark Leopold, a witness told police that a male dressed in all black, with a face covering, was seen crouching near the burglarized cars about 20 minutes before the crimes were committed.

The burglarized vehicles included a 2014 Audi, owned by a Califon resident and a 2017 Acura, owned by a Bedminster resident, according to the township police report.

Sign Up for E-News

At the time of the crime, which apparently occurred between between 9 to 9:40 a.m. last Monday morning, police said the thief apparently broke into both cars by shattering the windows. Both vehicles were reportedly locked.

Possessions stolen from the vehicles included purses containing cash and credit cards, police said.

The incidents are currently still under investigation. The Bernards Township Police Detective Bureau reported that several police agencies are working with township police to help determine whether the vehicle break-ins are connected to similar incidents in nearby towns.

Township advise residents to keep valuables out of sight even in locked vehicles

Township police advised citizens not to leave any items of value, such as purses, that would easily be visible in their vehicles to someone walking by. Parking locations in proximity to fitness centers and public parks are regularly targeted due to the frequency of purses left inside, police noted.