After another recent burglary in which a sleeping Lawrence resident woke up to find an intruder in her home, police said Wednesday that several dozen aggravated burglaries have been reported in the last three months.
Sgt. Trent McKinley, a police spokesman, called it an “uptick” for a crime that’s not common in Lawrence.
“It is a priority right now. We have detectives that are assigned to the cases as well as working a coordinated effort with both evening and midnight shift patrols,” he said. “We are basically giving them the best information that we can about what’s gone on and what data we’ve collected. So hopefully we can catch another one of these individuals in the process of committing a crime.”
Police arrested a 32-year-old Lawrence man, William D. Washington III, on June 9 after they allegedly caught him trying to enter someone’s home as they investigated a burglary reported minutes earlier nearby, in the 3400 block of Augusta Drive. Washington has not been charged with any other aggravated burglaries.
Prosecutors said this week Washington is in custody in another jurisdiction.
However, with him in custody, those types of burglaries in Lawrence have not stopped.
About 5 a.m. Sunday, a woman reported she awoke to hearing footsteps in her house in the 3900 block of West 10th Place near Monterey Way and encountered a man with a flashlight inside. He ran away but not before taking $1,900 in cash and electronics.
Also on July 11, a 74-year-old woman awoke early in the morning to see a man holding a light standing in her bedroom in the 1300 block of Raintree Place, east of University Drive and Iowa Street.
Police began warning residents in June to make sure doors and windows were locked at night after several similar aggravated burglaries occurred in southwestern Lawrence.
“In talking to detectives, it’s probably fair to say that we have enough differences in some of the crimes to believe that there is more than one person involved,” McKinley said.
It has become difficult to get an accurate suspect description, he said, mostly because it’s dark, and sometimes residents don’t even wake up when the person’s inside. They later notice something missing from their home or garage. McKinley said not all of the “several dozen” recent aggravated burglaries fall into the category of someone waking up to find a stranger in their home, but police have noticed a spike in those reports.
Police are asking residents to keep an eye out for suspicious people in their neighborhoods late at night or early in the morning.
“We want to encourage people to go ahead and call it in and give us the opportunity to investigate it,” McKinley said.
Officers are also advising people to routinely check to make sure all doors and windows are locked before they go to bed — especially sliding glass doors.
Garage doors also should be closed, and officers do advise people to leave on exterior lights, including porch lights, throughout the night, McKinley said.