NAPLES, Italy — Navy officials have beefed up security after a series of successful and attempted home burglaries at the Gricignano support site base. In one of the incidents, a sailor confronted a would-be burglar who flashed a knife, base commander Capt. Floyd Hehe said.

The sailor was not attacked or injured, said Hehe, who strongly cautioned base residents against confronting anyone. Instead, residents should call base security for help.

In three incidents Thursday, one house was broken into and a laptop computer, money and jewelry were stolen, Hehe said. Burglars tried to break into a second house, which was locked up. In the third case, the sailor surprised the person, described by Hehe as an Italian-speaking male teen-ager. The teen escaped, he said.

On July 1, two other base houses were broken into, with similarly easy-to-carry items taken.

“Easily accessible items appear to be the target,” said Lt. David Tolliver with the security department.

Officials believe Thursday’s three cases might be related, but are not sure if all five recent incidents are connected.

Security officials suspect perpetrators might be entering the base by either scaling the 10-foot to 12-foot perimeter fence, or entering through a gate near the new housing construction area on the north side of the base.

To mitigate the problem, Hehe said the Mirabella construction company is posting a patrolman with a dog. Navy security too has increased patrols inside the base, and the Italian carabinieri and local police are boosting patrols on the outside, Hehe said.

On July 1, because of budget cuts made by the Italian military, Italian soldiers ceased patrolling around the outside of the base, Hehe said.

Residents too can play a part in keeping their houses safe by turning on balcony lights and locking all doors, windows, and closing the roll-down shades, called persiane, Tolliver said.

“And the best defense is for people to be looking out for their neighbors,” Hehe said.

To report suspicious behavior, residents should call the base Security Alarm Control Center at: DSN 626-5638 or 5639 (civilian 081-568-5638 or 5639).

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