Businesses warned of spike in burglaries

Rochester police are warning businesses in the city to be extra vigilant, especially while opening or closing their stores, in the wake of nearly 50 burglaries in the past three months.

An analysis of the incidents committed since Jan. 1 indicates many of the burglaries may be linked, though no pattern about the day or time of the burglaries has been noted.

Initially, the burglaries were occurring on the fringes of Rochester, said Capt. John Sherwin, but they've now spread citywide. Most of the recent activity has taken place on the weekends.

In several burglaries, a suspect was believed to have been observed outside soon after closing by employees of neighboring businesses.

If suspicious people are seen — especially those on foot who might be watching locking procedures, Sherwin said, "do not hesitate to call 911.


"One burglar can be very, very prolific," he said, possibly accounting for many of the incidents, "but it could be more than one individual, operating independently. There are some similarities, but (the burglaries) are not all connected."

Due to the large number of actual burglaries, the Rochester Police Department has suspended false alarm fees for commercial businesses until further notice. Officials are asking that business owners contact their alarm company regarding notification procedures, ensuring that the first phone call after the alarm is made to police dispatch instead of the business owner or key holder.

Because repeated calls for false alarms eventually generate a fine against the business owner, many of the owners cancel the police response before an officer responds.

"Some owners (recently) have canceled, so we didn't respond," Sherwin said, "and it turned out there'd been a burglary. We can't solve these if we don't respond" immediately.

Residential alarms are not included in the fee waiver.

Anyone with questions is asked to contact Sherwin at 328-6932; for crime prevention information, contact Darrel Hildebrant at 328-6890.

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