Burglary spree challenges Mount Baker Neighborhood

SEATTLE -- Police say a burglary spree involving three dozen break-ins is now a top priority for detectives. Detectives are investigating at least 36 home break-ins, triple the usual number of cases in a month.

"It's always worrisome when the neighbors come and say 'I have been broken into. Did you see anything,'" said Vreni Von Arx Watt, who lives next door to one of the victims.

Mount Baker neighbors say the spike in burglaries since the start of the year is disturbing. Even the local letter carrier knows about the trouble.

"They've been having break ins," said Ed Adams, who delivers mail to the area. "They said they think they are professionals because they've been cutting glass, things like that."

Some neighbors are calling this a crime wave and investigators say there's nothing more important than ending this spree.

"It's our number one priority," said Capt. John Hayes, the police commander for the South Precinct.

Hayes says it's gotten so bad, he cruises Mount Baker himself to keep an extra pair of eyes on the lookout.

Many homeowners have invested in alarm systems and security cameras, which recently have captured several suspects on the prowl. Block watch groups share this information so everyone on the street stays informed.

"People talk to each other, and the police told everyone to get an alarm system," Von Arx Watt said.

Police say the best thing is for people to stay alert, watch out for each other, and report anything suspicious immediately.

"We're going to get some good breaks in this," Capt. Hayes said. "The hard part is sometimes that takes time."