Interim Smithfield Police Chief Keith Powell confirmed Monday there has been a spike in business burglaries “during the last few months.”
The burglaries have occurred overnight and authorities believe a small group of people are involved with the crimes, which could possibly be related.
Powell said the police department’s Investigation Division is working on leads in the cases that he hopes will lead to arrests. Police are asking citizens to be vigilant and to contact officers if they see any suspicious activity in their neighborhoods or around any business.
In a WTSB News report last week, we reported that crime in Smithfield is up 22 percent during the first 5 months of this year compared to the first five months on 2015. Looking at break-ins alone, residential break-ins are up 82 percent this year and commercial break-ins are up 567 percent. Statistics for June 2016 were not available.
Powell said the police department will have increased patrols in both marked and unmarked vehicles over the next several months. They are also offering a $500 reward for information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of the individuals committing the business and residential break-ins. Powell said the reward is available until January 1st, 2017.
Police also released a surveillance image of a person of interest wanted for questioning in the rash of break-ins. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Smithfield Police Department at 919-934-2121 or the Smithfield Police Tip Line at 919-989-8835. Callers can remain anonymous.