BERKELEY TOWNSHIP - Burglaries and other crimes tend to escalate during the holiday season, and police say crooks are targeting seniors in Berkeley.
Pat and Sal DelMastro are preparing for Christmas, but they're also taking precautions after their neighbor's home was burglarized. Jewelry and cash was stolen from the home in Silver Ridge Park Westerly.
"The other night I got very nervous so I locked the back sun door to the sunroom and I put the chair against it," says Pat DelMastro.
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Her husband, Sal DelMastro, says they can't be too careful. "We make sure our front door's locked, our back door's locked. We make sure there are lights on at night."
Berkeley Township police say several residents in the area of Westbrook Drive, part of a senior community, as well as in Holiday City were hit. The thieves struck while people were away the week of Thanksgiving.
Residents are being asked to keep an eye out for suspicious people and vehicles, and to report them to police right away.
Tom Parisi is not surprised that his community has been targeted. "People are buying gifts," he says. "There's more to rob. Other than that, we really don't have a heck of a lot you can steal. I mean most of these people are living on Social Security."
"People do shopping - there's gifts in the house and it's a reason for breaking in," he says.
Police urge homeowners to make sure gifts are not visible from windows. Holiday burglaries have also been reported in South Brunswick, Wall and Ocean, among others.