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Burke County Sheriff Steve Whisenant says his office is determined to thwart a growing number of break-ins and other similar crimes.
"Property crimes will be our focus right now," he said. The sheriff made the comment after a break-in in the southern part of the county left a homeowner shook up.
The woman had made a short trip from home and when she returned about 8:30 Wednesday morning she found two men in her living room unhooking her television. The two men ran out the back and not the woods, leaving behind the television but taking the woman's purse which contained her medication.
A search in the area ensued but dogs lost the track and deputies ran out of clues and the two escaped.
Although he had no specific figures, the Sheriff said his office has seen a rise in break-ins and other property crimes over the past year. He believes the primary reason for that is an increase in substance abuse. "There is a direct correlation between the two," he said. Many thieves are stealing things that they can sell or trade to get the drugs they want.
Whisenant said is office will redouble efforts to help communities set up neighborhood watch groups and when there are break-ins or other property crimes, they will send deputies out in full force to try to catch those responsible.
Anyone wanting to start a community watch or to revitalize one that's already in place is urged to call the Burke County Sheriff's Office. Whisenant said he hopes thieves will get this message: " We are looking for you."