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Police give tips to help prevent crime

Burglars may be watching your home, but residents should take steps to let criminals know they’re also being watched.

That was part of the message Bedford police conveyed during a two-hour informational meeting on July 31. About 35 people attended the meeting held at the Safety Complex. Chief John Bryfonski opened the meeting, then Lt. Michael Bernard, Det. Matt Fleming and Det. Lt. Michael Griswold took turns advising people how to better safeguard their homes and property from burglaries. Officer Amy Champagne described the Neighborhood Watch program and invited residents to form a group in their neighborhoods.

In addition to making sure doors and windows are locked, air conditioners are secured from the inside, landscaping is kept trimmed to a prevent hiding places, using motion detecting lights and watching what you post on social media while on vacation, police offered other ways to keep your home and neighborhood safe.

During the presentation, police gave some insight into a burglar’s mind. If burglars see your car is unlocked in the driveway, they’ll bet your home is unsecured as well, said Fleming.

Most burglaries are driven by people who desperately need money and by those with substance abuse problems, said police.

“An unlocked door is a huge problem,” said Fleming. “Burglars aim for small items they can easily sell. They don’t want to hold on to large items for an extended amount of time.”

Burglars usually look for computers, iPhones, iPods, video games, jewelry and other items that can be quickly sold for money to buy drugs, he said.

“How long do you think it would take me to get into your home and grab these items? Under 10 minutes,” Fleming said.

Police said residents should also report anything suspicious, especially if they see a slow moving vehicle in their neighborhood. Residents reporting suspicious behavior can help police by providing as much detail as possible.

Also, suspicious visitors at your door should send up a red flag if they ask for directions or say they’re looking for a lost pet. Some may say they used to live in your home and can they come in to see if it looks the same. Odds are they are targeting your home.

Resident Maria Byrne asked how do you deal with a person at the door you think is suspicious.

“You can call out from another window and say, ‘I don’t feel comfortable opening the door. Would you like me to call the police and they can give your directions,’”said Fleming.

There have been 21 burglaries in Bedford this year, and Griswold said the recent rash of burglaries have occurred between 2 and 7 p.m., which is very unusual.

“They usually wait until you leave for work and enter,” he said.

“One burglary in Bedford is one too many,” said Bryfonski. “Look around and see what you can do within your means to protect your home or business. We’ll also come out and give you an assessment of where you are most vulnerable.”

Bedford police also offer a vacant property check, where officers will keep watch over your home while you’re away.

Though the case of Dr. Eduardo Quesada and his wife, Sonia, was not mentioned at the meeting, police warn not to interfere with a burglary in progress. On Nov. 24, two intruders attacked the couple as they returned to their 7 Proclamation Court residence. Dr. Quesada, 52, was stabbed multiple times in the head with a screwdriver, causing facial fractures, cuts and bleeding in the brain. Sonia Quesada was sexually and physically assaulted several times, causing her to lose sight in one eye. The couple’s 2-year-old daughter was unharmed.

At the time, police said the motive appeared to be financial gain, and there was no indication the Quesadas had any connection to their attackers. Six weeks after the home invasion, Sonia Quesada was found dead at her mother-in-law’s home in Bedford. Her husband was also found at the address, alive but unconscious near a pile of prescription drugs. An autopsy showed Sonia Quesada died of a drug overdose. In April, Charles Normil, 32, was arrested in connection with the crime. He was charged with two counts of attempted murder and first-degree assault, and one count of aggravated felonious sexual assault, falsifying physical evidence and burglary. The case is still pending.

If you interrupt a burglary, do not interact with the suspect.

“Be the arms and ears and not the arm,” said Fleming. “Don’t confront them. If you can leave the home safely, do it. Go to a neighbor’s house and call 911. If not, find a hiding space and stay there. Some people may want to stay and duke it out with them, but we don’t want that.”

Bryfonski stressed that people should feel safe and know the Bedford police are keeping watch.

“We can’t put a bubble over Bedford to prevent crime. We want you to feel safe and stay secure,” he said.

To form a Neighborhood Watch group, contact officer Amy Champagne at 472-5113, ext. 211. She will meet with residents, offer tips and also sends out neighborhood newsletters.

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