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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, December 15, 2011

Christmas crime?
New Scotland home burglarized

NEW SCOTLAND — On Monday, an elderly couple returned from a two-hour shopping trip at Stuyvesant Plaza to find their New Scotland home burglarized.

Their home is located on a main road, Route 156, between the Voorheesville firehouse and Indian ladder Farms.

They had locked their house when they left at around noon. “They broke the lock on the front door,” said the woman. (The Enterprise is withholding the names of the crime victims.)

The couple’s television and computer were untouched, said the wife as she surveyed the small home’s office and living room. “Then my husband said, come here — calmly — to the bedroom. They had opened every drawer. They took some necklaces I had from Casual Set. And they took the pillow case from my husband’s pillow.”

She surmised that was to carry off the jewelry in.

The woman was very grateful that, because she and her husband had recently been on an out-of-town trip, she had taken her valuable jewelry to the bank and it was still in a safety deposit box.

 “I have a ton of hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind pieces I could never replace,” she said. She now plans to leave her valuable jewelry at the bank.

“You really feel violated when this happens,” she said. She is eager to warn others. “I’ve tried to call everyone in my neighborhood,” she said.

The couple has lived on the Altamont-Voorheesville Road since 1998 and always before Monday felt safe in their neighborhood, she said.

Inspector Mark Defrancesco with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office, which investigated the crime, said, “Many victims feel violated. She did everything right.”

By this, he meant the house was locked, it was in broad daylight so it was well lit, and there is not a lot of shrubbery in front of the house behind which a burglar could hide, he said.

Sometimes, thieves will read funeral announcements, Defrancesco said, or Facebook posts to see when homeowners will be away. “They were gone such a short time,” he said of the New Scotland couple, “I wouldn’t doubt the person saw them leave.”

He also said, since they live on a main thoroughfare, it makes it easier for a burglar to escape.

“We do not have any suspect at this time,” said Defrancesco yesterday. “We did collect physical evidence that is being processed.”

A neighbor saw a beige car parked nearby at the time of the burglary and, while Defrancesco noted there are many beige cars in Albany County, he added, “Any information is helpful.”

Thieves frequently target jewelry as in the New Scotland case, he said, rather than TVs or computers, which are easier to track with serial numbers.

“Jewelry is easily fenced but not easily traced,” he said noting that, once gold is melted down, it is unidentifiable.

The New Scotland woman who was burglarized said that she gets angry thinking of ads to buy gold. “They might as well say, just go rob some,” she said.

Asked if there had been similar break-ins in the area, Defrancesco said, “There’s not a rash of these — yet.”

He went on, “It is that time of the year…We see an increase around Christmas or when tax money is due… I personally think it’s because then people feel more need for money. We try to increase patrols.”

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

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