Burglars break into 19 homes on Christmas Eve

Friday, December 25, 2009 | 4:18 p.m. CST; updated 12:48 p.m. CST, Saturday, December 26, 2009

COLUMBIA — Police believe a sting of burglaries on Christmas Eve are related to more than 100 others reported during November and December.

Early Friday morning, burglars broke into 19 southeast Columbia homes, taking items like small electronics and flat-screen televisions, according to a Columbia Police Department news release.

The burglaries occurred in the 1400 and 1500 blocks of Rolling Rock Drive, the 3500 block of Marquis Court, the 2400 block of Santa Rosa Court and the 5100 block of Commercial Drive.

Many of the homes' residents were out of town for the holidays, police said.

The Police Department has fielded two or three burglary reports most days during December, the release said. The Christmas Eve robberies bring the number of burglaries this month to 72.

Earlier this month, police arrested 13 people in connection with a spate of residential burglaries. Investigators have identified more suspects and are following leads to identify more, the release said.

Police ask that residents keep an eye on their neighbors' homes and call police to report anything suspicious. People who have seen suspicious activity, including offers to sell property that might have been stolen, can call the Police Department at 874-7652 or Crime Stoppers at 875-tips.

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