DIXONVILLE - A Dixonville woman returning home from visiting family Sunday afternoon discovered she had become the latest victim in a series of burglaries in the area.
Theresa Landis had been out of town for several days visiting family in Youngstown for the holidays when her house on Park Boulevard East was broken into. Entry was made through the locked back door of the home, which was forced open. Only a television was noticed missing before Liverpool Township police arrived to inspect the scene.
Landis, who is 83 years old, was surrounded by concerned family and neighbors outside the house as patrolmen and an investigator from the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation swept the house looking for clues before she could take a full inventory.
"I could cry my eyes out, but I don't want to start," Landis said.
Township Detective Craig Kinemond said the Dixonville area has seen a rash of attempted burglaries over the last two weeks. The more successful efforts include Landis' home and that of her neighbor across the street, Victoria Mitchell, whose house was broken into Dec. 8 while she was at work.
Mitchell says the burglars entered through a pair of side doors, making off with most of her jewelry. "I came home and noticed it was cold in my house, and there was glass all over," she said.
Like Landis, most of Mitchell's neighbors are elderly and enjoyed the relative quiet and safety of Dixonville, as did she. Mitchell admits she never considered a security system for her home before, but is considering it now. "I thought I lived in such a nice neighborhood. Now I'm a nervous wreck," she said.
Zac Calhoun on nearby Anderson Boulevard reported a break-in earlier in the month. Someone removed an air conditioner from a window and stole a handgun, two Xbox video game consoles and 15 to 20 games, a compound bow and between $70 and $100 in coins.
According to Kinemond, there have been other, less successful break-ins. One was at a house near the Dixonville fire station on Anderson Boulevard, which Kinemond says was thwarted when the would-be burglars encountered a large, angry dog. "They had a big Doberman that scared them away before they actually got in," he said.
In another case on Park Boulevard East, an attempt was made at the home of an elderly female neighbor. Mitchell says the burglars broke a window at the house, but left after the woman pressed the button on her personal alert device.
Kinemond sought to reassure residents that action is being taken to curb the burglaries, with increased patrols in the area. "We have extra officers stationed here in Dixonville to help deter this," he said.
Still, he says people must be vigilant during the holidays, since burglars know that people travel and visit loved ones, leaving lots of homes temporarily unoccupied and easier targets.
"I hate to say it, but 'tis the season," Kinemond said.