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York County police deal with series of burglaries

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SOUTH BERWICK (WGME) - Families are worried and police are on alert after a series of daytime burglaries in York County.

Cindy Butler may be one of the first victims of the recent rash of burglaries in the Berwicks.

She says her son lost all the coins he'd been saving.

"He had piggy banks on there that had change and were full," Butler said. "They took all the piggy banks."

They also stole a money clip and pocket watch that belonged to her father and her jewelry box.

"My husband's wedding ring," Butler said. "I had rings that were my grandmothers and my great aunts. My jewelry I really didn't care about. It was the stuff you can't replace."

South Berwick police Lt. Chris Burbank says burglars are in and out quickly, targeting mostly jewelry which they can easily pawn for cash. He says most break-ins have been in isolated areas.

"But we have had two burglaries right in our downtown, which is extremely unusual," Burbank said.

Kevin and Cindy Butler, and police, believe without question these burglaries are directly tied to Maine's heroin epidemic.

"Breaking in and getting some quick money and buying their drugs," Kevin Butler said.

South Berwick police got the word out about the burglaries on their Facebook page.

"Suddenly, we had 15,000 hits in a week and the message was being spread among the community," Burbank said.

He says the community responded forming new neighborhood watch groups.

"I went through and got email addresses and phone numbers of everybody, so we can kind of be on the watch," Cindy Butler said.

Neighbors have also given police dozens of tips, which they've been checking out.

"They are now the eyes and ears for us. They are calling in suspicious cars, suspicious people. We're following up on tips daily, including a few that came in today," Burbank said. "Those are the breaks we're going to need."

Police advise families to leave a TV and lights on when they're not home, and even a car in the driveway. They also say you should document and photograph jewelry for your insurance company and keep it in a safe place, just in case.

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