Rash of Break-Ins Forces Neighborhood to Organize Block Watch

WEST TOLEDO -- A rash of break-ins has one west Toledo neighborhood organizing and asking for more police protection.  It's happening in the Elmhurst Park neighborhood, along Vogel and Lambert Drives, not far from Secor Road.

People who live in that neighborhood say the crimes are happening in broad daylight, probably when they leave their driveways in the morning to go to work.  The criminals aren't bothering to look for an easy way in, they're just kicking in the front door and helping themselves.

"I have 2 young boys," said one resident of Elmhurst Park.  "Lucky we weren't home.  Basically they took what they could get."  That resident, who did not want to give his name, thinks he may have been the first victim.  He's now added a security system.

"This is a nice community, so we want to keep it safe," said the homeowner.  "The kids come out here and play all the time. We don't want to feel like we have to be in our houses and watching everybody that comes by."

"It makes you obviously feel not safe in your home to leave," said Iris Rodebaugh, who also lives in that neighborhood.  "It makes you feel vulnerable, it makes you feel frightened."

The break-ins have made them so angry here that they've started to organize their own Block Watch group.  They've called Toledo Police here and are hoping they can make an arrest.  They're also encouraged by a confrontation one resident had today with a white man in his 20s, with sideburns, dark hair, driving a blue car.  The possible suspect took off.

"If we see something strange, a car or a van parked in somebody's driveway that we're aware is not supposed to be there, I'm going to call the neighbor or I'm going to call someone next to them if we can't get a hold of them and try to find out and question them," said Richard Hendrickson, who's organizing the Block Watch.  "I am going to walk up to people and ask them, 'Who are you?'"

Some of these residents think it could be someone who lives here, stalking their own neighbors' homes.

Count on News 11 to follow this story as it develops.

Posted by AEB