Watching out for opportunistic thieves

By Anna Carrera

Published 01/03 2014 05:51PM

Updated 01/03 2014 06:15PM

CHAMPAIGN -- The holiday season has come and gone. But with many students still out of town, burglars are taking advantage.

"Someone had entered the residence through window," said Champaign Police Officer Steven Reynolds. "Either they forced it or it was left unlocked, and they took several electronic items from the residence."

Champaign police say burglars aren't just hitting homes. They're also eyeing bigger complexes.

"We've had an apartment building where we had like 14 rooms were burglarized in this one building at one time," said Reynolds. "With the kids being gone, it's very difficult to have somebody call in when there's no one there in the building."

They say it happens a lot this time of year. But it doesn't have to.

"Make sure all the doors are secure," said Champaign Police Officer Kaitlin Fisher. "If you have sliding doors or windows, make sure you put a piece of wood or rod in the sliding track. That helps prevent it from being opened."

Officers take extra care this time of year when they're on patrol.

"If we see anything that looks questionable, we'll go ahead and pull over and take a look at it," said Fisher.

They watch for damaged doors and broken blinds. And sometimes they find evidence in the snow.

"There's no particular reason why anybody should walk up to somebody's window and look," said Reynolds. "Either to check the house to see if someone's there, to burglarize the house or possibly like a peeping tom or something like that."

"If you know you're going to be gone, let a neighbor know they're going to be gone so the neighbor can keep an eye on their place," said Fisher.

Investigators say if you see anything suspicious, give them a call.

"If the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, more than likely it's something we need to be made aware of," said Reynolds.

If you come back from vacation and realize your home has been burglarized, police say just leave everything like you found it and let them know.

Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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