Several homes in one neighborhood are broken into within a span of a few hours. No one is caught and none of the neighborhood residents’ belongings are ever returned to them.
This has recently become a familiar scenario on St. John, and now one group of neighbors whose homes were burglarized are speaking out against the ineffective investigation by the Virgin Islands Police Department.
On Monday, November 6, there were four reports of third degree burglaries in Estate Glucksberg, at 2:05 p.m., 4:20 p.m., 5:25 p.m. and 6:06 p.m.
One Glucksberg resident, who may have unwittingly given a ride to one of the suspects, said she is unhappy with the VIPD’s investigation of the burglaries.
Encounter with Suspect
“It’s funny, because now that I think about it, on my way home that day, after the burglaries had occurred but before I knew my home had been broken into, this kid comes out of the bushes on Gifft Hill Road and waved me down,” said the resident, who asked to remain anonymous. “He was wearing jeans and a ‘wifebeater’ (sleeveless t-shirt), and was kind of sweaty. I pulled over and told him I wasn’t going to Centerline, and he said ‘that’s okay.’”
“I gave him a ride and he got out when I was turning down my road,” the Glucksberg resident continued. “I know what he looks like, and I know the kid he hangs out with.”
The Glucksberg resident’s neighbor had an encounter with two teenagers just before she gave the teenage boy a ride, she explained.
“My neighbor was coming down our road and saw two young kids, about 15 years old, very thin, wearing jeans and carrying two bags, and he asked them, ‘hey, what are you guys doing down here?’” said the Glucksberg resident. “Our road is terrible. Nobody comes down here.”
VIPD Alerted after Shots Fired
“The kids had a gun, and they shot three shots into the air,” the woman continued. “My neighbor said he was kind of shaken up after that.”
The woman’s neighbor called the police at that time, she explained.
“I came down the road and saw my house had been broken into, and my neighbor told me he had just seen the suspects and had called the cops,” said the Glucksberg resident.
The items stolen from the four Glucksberg homes include cash, a digital camera, a laptop computer, an iPod and a portable DVD player, and although only four burglaries were reported on the St. John police blotter, more than four homes were broken into, according to the Glucksberg woman.
The VIPD responded quickly, but the Glucksberg woman was unhappy with the resulting investigation, she explained.
“Almost all the cops came down initially,” she said. “A cop came later to talk to my neighbors, and told us to wait at home because they would come to take fingerprints. They had five separate cases, five opportunities to lift fingerprints, and they never came.”
The Glucksberg woman saw evidence of miscommunication between the officer who took the initial reports and the detective assigned to investigate the case, she explained.
“I waited all day for them to come take fingerprints, and I’ve even called the detective and left messages,” she said. “My neighbor described the kids who shot the gun to the officers, but I don’t even think the detective got that info. It’s like one person doesn’t report to the other.”
A month after the burglaries occurred, the Glucksberg woman has heard nothing more about the case, she explained.
“You’ve got to go through the motions — at least take some fingerprints,” she said. “There is no excuse for that. There are five places to take fingerprints from, and the detective hasn’t lifted one finger — it’s just blatant disregard.”
The Glucksberg woman hopes to make people aware of how quickly a home can be burglarized, she said.
Polite But Inefficient
“I want to make people aware that they’re coming in quick and fast, and going for stuff that they can sell quickly,” she said. “It’s probably the same kids. They’re bored and have nothing else to do.”
Although the VIPD officers were polite, their investigation was not efficient, added the Glucksberg woman.
“What do I do at this point?” she said. “I don’t know. I am going to keep calling the police.”
“They were very polite and considerate,” the Glucksberg resident continued. “They have a hard job, but there is no excuse for the detective not showing up.”
VIPD spokesperson Shawna Richards did not respond to requests for information regarding the VIPD’s investigation of the burglaries.