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Kaiserslautern area residents warned of burglary threat

By JENNIFER H. SVAN AND MARCUS KLOECKNER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 10, 2016

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — U.S. military and German officials are warning local residents to keep their homes secured after a string of break-ins last week in two villages southwest of Kaiserslautern.

Burglars last week attempted to break into 18 houses in Bruchmuehlbach-Miesau and Vogelbach, primarily targeting homes located near the edge of the forest, according to the U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Directorate of Emergency Services and Landstuhl police.

On the basis of eyewitness reports, police believe there are two suspects.

The suspects successfully made it into three homes, including one belonging to an American family, where they entered through a basement window, said Peter Becker, deputy chief of the Landstuhl police department.

Residents found evidence of an attempted break-in in the other 15 homes, he said.

The thieves stole a total of about 5,000 euros, mostly in cash and jewelry, Becker said. The thefts and attempted break-ins occurred between Aug. 4 and 6. Sometimes residents were at home, garrison emergency services officials said in information they posted this week on social media.

Bruchmuehlbach-Miesau and Vogelbach are two villages less than 2 miles apart. They are home to some Americans who work on U.S. military bases in the Kaiserslautern area, including nearby Landstuhl and Ramstein Air Base.

Becker said the area has never seen such a rash of attempted home break-ins. But police believe it’s the work of amateurs and not professional thieves, he said.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing two people, a male and female. “Both of them are young, probably adolescents,” Becker said.

Garrison emergency services officials offered several tips to keep homes secure, suggesting that people lock doors and keep first-floor windows closed at night and when they’re away. Anything suspicious should be reported by calling 110, they said, urging people never to confront an intruder.

Becker said giving one’s house the appearance that someone is home is another way to deter burglars. Shutters that are closed during the day can attract thieves. People should consider using timers that automatically open and close shutters and turn lights on and off.

svan.jennifer@stripes.com

kloeckner.marcus@stripes.com

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