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Lower Merion Police Say Recent Uptick in Burglaries May Be Central and South American Transient Groups

LOWER MERION — Police investigators say they might have an idea who is behind the recent increase in burglaries along the Main Line.

Lower Merion Police Superintendent Mike McGrath said they believe transient groups from South and Central America could be responsible for the recent increase in Main Line burglaries.

Main Line police departments, including Lower Merion and Radnor townships, have reported a recent uptick in burglaries over the past couple of months.

McGrath said since the first of September, there have been 10 residential burglaries and one attempted burglary. Larger homes, primarily in the western end of the township, have been hit.

McGrath’s comments were made during an update to the township commissioners as part of the police committee meeting.

“Similar burglaries have occurred in towns and townships throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania,” McGrath said. “Victims from all of these [burglaries] have reported loss of jewelry, electronics, and other easily carried valuables. Investigation has determined that there are similar burglary trends along the east coast of the US involving transient groups from Central and South America. Identifying and stopping these groups is a priority of numerous police agencies.”

According to McGrath, the transient groups are specifically targeting wealthier zip codes with higher than average medium incomes and larger homes, such as those on the Main Line. Houses are often getting hit between the hours of 4 and 10 p.m.”

To address the uptick, Lower Merion police said they are increasing both marked and unmarked patrols in the areas most affected by the burglaries.

Radnor police also recently warned residents to remain vigilant as they investigate a series of residential burglaries in the Wayne and Villanova neighborhoods.

“In each incident, high value and costume jewelry was stolen from the homes,” Radnor police officials wrote on a social media post. “The commonality between each appears to be that the subject(s) enter the second-floor windows or doors and immediately locate the master bedroom. Once inside, the subject(s) remove a pillowcase from the bed and fill the case with valuable jewelry or items in plain view.”

McGrath said they are working with state and federal law enforcement on the burglaries. But they also need help from the public.

“So we are asking the public for help as well,” McGrath said. “First, if you see something, say something. Dial 911 if you see something unusual in your neighborhood. You know your neighborhood better than anyone. If you have an alarm system, please use it. Make sure that the exterior of your home is well lit. Lights, motion lights, and fixtures near points of entry are good deterrence. Also, you can trim back landscaping that obscures windows and doors, and other points of entry to your home. Exterior security cameras should be checked and make sure they’re working.”

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