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Rash of Burglaries in Wyalusing Unprecedented

 

Rash of Burglaries in

 Wyalusing Unprecedented

Here’s an alarming piece of news for you: The string of burglaries or attempted break-ins over the last three weeks or so is the highest for such a short time span in Wyalusing’s history.

By our count, 11 businesses were burglarized in the recent crime wave, and attempts were made at still others. At the Farm and Home Plaza, for example, where Connies Supermarket and Bob’s Restaurant suffered actual break-ins, attempts were made to break in to every business in the plaza. Time was when Wyalusing wouldn’t tally 11 burglaries in a year.

Read Editor Rick Hiduk’s page one story and you’ll learn more about where and when the rest of the burglaries occurred.

Another alarming aspect of this unprecedented crime wave is that with the exception of a state police news release reporting the burglary at D.G. Nicholas Auto Parts in Wyalusing Township, we received no police reports regarding the 10 other burglaries in our community. And as of Tuesday of this week, police hadn’t looked at surveillance tapes showing the perpetrator at the Farm and Home Plaza, where the break-ins took place last weekend. What’s puzzling about this is why state police apparently don’t want the public to know that an alarming and unprecedented crime spree is taking place in our community.

Not long ago a rash of crimes would bring a call for expanded police protection in Wyalusing, but it’s unlikely that will happen now. A small but powerful segment of Wyalusing’s population has an attitude about local police protection that is firmly locked in the past. They won’t let our community break free from its unfortunate experience with former Chief of Police George Andras that dates back over 20 years.

The irony is that Andras, who has been employed as a police officer in Laceyville since he parted company with Wyalusing, could likely have played a role in preventing the recent burglaries. You see, up until earlier this month, Wyalusing was relying on part-time police protection from Laceyville police officer Sgt. Lloyd Overfield, with the stipulation that Andras was not allowed to patrol in Wyalusing. When Overfield’s resignation was accepted at the Laceyville Borough Council’s May 3 meeting, the logical thing would have been for Andras to step in and patrol Wyalusing on at least a temporary basis until Overfield’s replacement, who was hired that same evening, was on duty, but thanks to Wyalusing’s two decades old beef with Andras, that didn’t happen.

The result was that there was no local police protection in Wyalusing over the three weeks that the crime spree has taken place. We reported in our May 5 issue that Overfield had resigned and that Joseph DeMuro had been hired to replace him and would be on the job in the near future. As it turned out, DeMuro is just now going on duty.

So here’s a piece of advice for Wyalusing businesses and home owners: You’re pretty much on your own when it comes to preventing break-ins at your homes and business. I can’t give you an exact count here, but it’s getting close to the point where the number of Wyalusing businesses that haven’t been burglarized is less than those that have. That’s a sad commentary on the state of our community.

Those opposed to local police protection often point out that a community the size of Wyalusing can’t afford ’round the clock police protection, which is true. But a part-time police force, patrolling on a shifting schedule, when the general public isn’t aware of when an officer will or will not be on duty, can provide a powerful crime deterrent.

And as for you folks who still think Wyalusing doesn’t need a local police force, I know of at least 11 local business owners who can offer a powerful argument that we do.

It’s time for an attitude adjustment about local police protection in Wyalusing. How many more burglaries will it take?

 


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