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LI cops look for owners of stolen goods

September 22, 2009 3:12:56 PM PDT
Jewelry, electronics and other stolen property are just some of the items police on Long Island want to give back to people. All the items were stolen, and police are hoping their owners will come forward.

But officials think the stolen items are part of a bigger problem.

In the basement of a Suffolk County police station, Linda Maxwell Evans was hoping for some good news.

She went there to look for some of her jewelry, prized possessions that were stolen when burglars ransacked her Medford bedroom.

"You do wonder what happened to your stuff," she said.

On Tuesday, detectives laid out several thousand dollars worth of jewelry and watches, in hopes burglary victims like Linda would spot their stuff. For police, it's become a regular routine.

"We've seen an increase in burglaries, really a marked increase," Suffolk detective lieutenant Robert Edwards said.

Burglary rates are rising across the country, normally blamed these days on the recession. But in Suffolk County, police are not blaming the economy. Instead, they say it all has to do with drugs, specifically heroin, since use has jumped off the charts.

And the drug busts are getting more and more alarming. Just last month, authorities uncovered $8 million worth of uncut heroin in the soles of suspects' shoes.

Investigators say the drugs are winding up in the arms of teens and young adults in bedroom communities like Smithtown, where addicts are hunting for open windows or unlocked doors, stealing jewelry and selling it for cash.

Linda had been hoping to find a garnet ring from her late father, but had no luck.

"It's not even what it is, just that he gave it to me," she said. "He's not here, and I'd like to have it back."

Police continue to attack the problem at the source, but they fear there may be no end in sight to the parade of burglary victims who will come through their basement.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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