SALEM, N.H. — As local stores reopen, Salem Police are increasing patrols to prepare for the possibility of thefts increasing, Deputy Police Chief Joel Dolan said.
"I think as we see unemployment rise and the economy go down if this continues, we are going to see an uptick in thefts and burglaries," Dolan said of fallout from the coronavirus crisis.
"We've had some upticks in burglaries,'' he said of recent developments in town. "We had some daytime burglaries with houses being broken into'' and valuable copper stolen, he said.
A person who stole copper has been identified and charges are pending, Dolan said.
Thieves sometimes target copper being used for plumbing in buildings under construction.
On Monday, the first day businesses reopened in New Hampshire, there were no reported incidents of shoplifting, according to the Police Department's daily log. On Tuesday, police arrested Dan Tien Nguyen, 50, of Dorchester and charged him with shoplifting at Home Depot, Dolan said.
There was also a reported fight outside the Mall at Rockingham Park Tuesday, but no arrests were made, Dolan said. The incident did not appear to be related to anything inside the mall, he said.
Since the pandemic hit the region, police have had a regular presence at the three Market Baskets in town, which has helped deter thefts, Dolan said.
Walmart recently hired police officers to help with security because of an increase in thefts there, he said.
Dolan encouraged store employees to stay vigilant. Having workers at the front of stores passing out masks to customers can help, he said.
The Salem branch of the Division of Motor Vehicles has masks available to businesses that request them for distribution to employees and customers, Dolan said.