NEW LENOX, Ill. (WLS) -- Police are warning residents in southwest suburban New Lenox about a burglar who targeted four homes in one hour last weekend.
The burglaries occurred between 9 and 10 p.m. Sunday, in the 700-block of Teal Drive, the 700-block of Westwind Drive, the 600-block of Bishops Gate and the 2100-block of Tower Bridge Road. Police believe one man is responsible for the break-ins and said he is kicking in doors, even when people are home.
"In one in particular, the people were in bed reading, they heard glass breaking. They actually waited a few minutes," said Chief Bob Sterba, New Lenox Police Dept.
When they finally went to check it out, police said the homeowners realized their sliding door had been shattered. Cash and other smaller items were stolen.
"It's right next door. Our sun room was open. And it shouldn't have been. But it was. They could have easily walked into our house, too. It's scary," Dan Borowski, who lives next door, said.
Of the four incidents, all of which happened in very close proximity to each other, police said this was the only case in which anything was stolen.
The suspect appeared to have been scared off, in one case, by an alarm being triggered, and in the others after realizing people were at home. Chief Sterba believes the unusual circumstances surrounding the burglaries provides some clues about their suspect.
"It would lead me to believe someone was in need of cash or something they could convert to cash in a relatively short period of time. Residential burglars are often drug abusers," Chief Sterba said.
Detectives set up a perimeter and brought in a police dog from Joliet to catch up with their suspect, but by then, he had escaped.
"We were taken aback a little by it, but it goes to show that it can happen anywhere. You just have to be smart, lock your doors and common sense," Erica Hottinger, an area resident, said.
Police described the suspect as a Caucasian male with brown hair and a heavy build. He was wearing a white t-shirt with a red emblem on the back.
The department said residents should always lock their windows or doors before leaving their homes. But in case their doors are not locked, police said, "If you return home and find your pedestrian door that leads into your home locked, and you are certain that you left it unlocked, DO NOT GO INSIDE! Call 911. Burglars often lock this door to slow down a victim, allowing the burglar extra time to get out of the home before the resident enters."
Residents should report any suspicious activity by calling 911 for immediate issues, calling the non-emergency 815-485-2500 or by submitting an anonymous crime tip at 815-462-6111.