Red Bank Police are looking for a burglar who may knock on his victims’ front doors to determine if anyone is home before entering their houses.
The culprit may also be targeting the homes of Hispanic families, said Capt. Steve McCarthy, who notes that five such homes have been burglarized since mid-September.
The latest incident occurred around 2p Monday on Catherine Street, where a man described as a heavily-built black male in his mid-20s made off with jewelry after breaking in through a rear entrance.
McCarthy said the suspect, wearing a three-quarter length black jacket and black knit hat, was first seen on the sidewalk in front of the victims residence talking on a cell phone, then knocking on the front door of the house before going to a rear apartment door.
Witnesses heard the sound of glass breaking and went to the rear door of the residence, where they saw that the door had been forced open. When a witness banged on the door, the suspect emerged from a second floor window, jumped to a landing and then to the ground. He took off over a backyard fence, heading toward Leonard Street.
A search of the area with a dog loaned by the Long Branch Police Department failed to locate the suspect. Meantime, the occupants of the home returned and confirmed that jewelry had been taken.
The suspect is described as about five-foot-ten, in his mid-20s, with a heavy build and dark complexion.
Police report that this is the fifth daytime break-in of a home occupied by Hispanic residents since Sept. 14 in the area. All of these incidents occurred on either Leighton Avenue or Catherine Street between Drs. James Parker Boulevard, Tilton Avenue and Shrewsbury Avenue.
In each case, a door was forced open and jewelry and/or cash were taken.
McCarthy emphasizes that police don’t know if the latest break-in was related to the earlier ones, or if the prior incidents were also preceded by a knock on the front door by the burglar. Likewise, they haven’t yet determined if the ethnicity of the targeted residents is a coincidence or intentional.
Authorities are hoping that a homeowner who was visited by anyone knocking on his door under a dubious pretext will call them and contribute information.
Residents are encouraged to contact the detective division at 732.530.2719, or, if they wish to remain anonymous, to call the Tips Line at 732.450.9704.