"We are going to extend it another six weeks because of its success," Marysville police Cmdr. Robb Lamoureux said.
The department created a temporary team that includes a sergeant, a detective and five officers to crack down on burglaries, thefts and other property-related crimes. The team was assembled after an upswing in residential and commercial break-ins. A police crime analyst routinely joins the group's discussions and strategy sessions.
The burglary strike team has been busy. It made seven arrests by its second night.
There have been 52 arrests over the first five weeks it has been together.
The department also identified five "hot spots" that were believed to be used by thieves and those supporting their criminal activities. Two of those places have been shut down through evictions, Lamoureux said.
Police estimate they have recovered about $8,000 in stolen goods, including jewelry, a vehicle, a firearm, a golf cart and an antique boat motor.
At the same time, the city has added more Neighborhood Watch programs in which volunteers keep close tabs on their communities and report suspicious activities to the police.
Drug addiction appears to be the motive for many of the burglaries, thefts and efforts to sell stolen property, Lamoureux said.
"They are driving through neighborhoods looking for their next fix through someone else's property," he said.
Part of the motivation behind forming the strike team was a burglary at the home of John and Danutsia Burgy. The south Marysville couple was attending the funeral of John Burgy's mother when thieves stole two heavy safes and other valuables from their home. Police have been able to recover some of the stolen goods, which were valued at about $400,000.
The break-in is believed to be part of a series of burglaries carried out by thieves who read newspaper obituaries and hit homes across Snohomish County while grieving families attended funerals. Marysville police as well as Snohomish County sheriff's deputies have made several arrests connected to the burglary ring.
"The Burgy burglary was the catalyst," Lamoureux said. "We decided we had to do something more than what we are doing. It culminated in the strike team."
The team can keep a purposely unpredictable schedule, recognizing that many break-ins occur in broad daylight when people are at work.
"They have the flexibility to be where they need to be at the time when they need to be there," Lamoureux said.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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