Reports of two brazen burglaries in Derry last week have residents concerned about what area police say is part of a growing trend in Southern New Hampshire.
When Derry police reported Wednesday that residences on East Broadway and Birch Street had been broken into while the residents were home, there was a surge in responses on social media.
More than 14,000 people read and many responded to a Facebook posting about the crimes.
Some expressed concern for their safety, while others offered tips on how to keep homes safe. Some recommended buying a gun.
Police in several towns said they have seen an increase in burglaries over the last few years.
The majority of the cases involve intruders breaking into homes to steal merchandise to sell for drug money, especially heroin and Oxycodone, they said.
“I don’t believe anyone is breaking into homes to steal to feed their families,” Derry police Chief Edward Garone said.
It’s all about drugs and getting the money to buy them, he said.
Garone declined to speculate on the motives behind the two burglaries last week, saying they were still under investigation.
In the first incident Tuesday, the residents of a home at 76 E. Broadway told police they heard noises in their kitchen about 8 p.m.
At first, they thought the noise was coming from another apartment, so they didn’t report it to police until the next morning.
That’s when they realized a purse, wallet and tablet were missing. They believed someone entered through an unlocked door while they were in another room, stole the items and then fled, Derry police Capt. Vern Thomas said.
Less than two hours later, Derry police responded to 29 Birch St. after receiving a call from an elderly woman.
The woman told police she encountered a man — dressed in military style-clothing and holding a flashlight — coming out of her bedroom.