Long Island residents concerned after string of attempted break-ins

WOODMERE, Long Island (WABC) -- It wasn't a good start to the New Year for at least two communities on Long Island.

Police are still trying to catch the intruder who was seen peering through windows and breaking down doors on New Year's Day.

Nothing was taken in these three cases, but it's alarming to neighbors how bold this burglar was, kicking in doors on a holiday in the middle of the day.

"They were very lucky not to be home, I think they were at a Hanukkah party in some other neighborhood and that was very fortunate," said Dr. Marty Elsant, a witness.

There is a sigh of relief that no one was hurt after neighbors were caught in the middle of tense moments in Woodmere.

"The cop told us all to get into their house and just stay there, shelter in place, we weren't really sure why," said Daniel Maron, a witness.

There were dozens of officers, many in tactical gear with guns in hand.

All after neighbors tell Eyewitness News woman sipping coffee saw a man looking into the windows of homes.

Nassau County Police got a call that the man was actually inside of a home on Howard Avenue.

"About 20 minutes after they told us to stay in the house, the SWAT teams arrived," Maron said.

The homeowner didn't want to talk on camera but tells Eyewitness News they weren't at home at the time, but it was clear the man was inside their home.

While investigating, police received a second call from a home less than a mile away.

A man with the same description was attempting to get inside a home in the Cedar Bay neighborhood.

Minutes later, there was a third report one block over. A man was attempting to kick in a side door.

A footprint was left behind.

"It makes me want to pray a lot harder. I think I'm going to be much more attentive when I go to services," Dr. Elsant said.

The burglar didn't get inside the last two homes.

And although police were just seconds behind him, the elusive intruder managed to get away leaving neighbors on edge.

"That's going to be on my prayer list that they catch the guy real quick," Dr. Elsant said.

The good news is no one was hurt.

Right now, police are looking for video of the burglar from home security systems, but they only know he was wearing a green jacket.

They're asking for anyone with information to give them a call.
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