Princeton man charged in string of car burglaries

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By Lea Kahn, Staff Writer
A Princeton man has been charged in connection with a string of car burglaries that occurred overnight between Oct. 21 and Oct. 22, according to the Princeton Police Department.
Jose Gonell of Leigh Avenue has been charged with four counts of burglary and theft, police said, and there may be additional charges. Detectives identified him as a suspect through evidence left at the scene of the burglaries.
In each instance, none of the victims had locked the car.
A Hodge Road resident reported that someone ransacked the car while it was parked in the driveway, but nothing was reported missing.
Nearby on Cleveland Lane, $100 worth of miscellaneous items were taken from the victim’s car.
Around the corner on Bayard Lane, $30 worth of miscellaneous items were taken from the victim’s car while it was parked in the driveway.
Items also were taken from a car parked on Stanworth Lane.
On Green Street in the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood, an iPad 4 and $1,000 in cash were reported stolen from the victim’s car.
And across town on Spruce Street, $99 worth of miscellaneous items were stolen.
To prevent car burglaries, police advise taking items inside the house or hiding them out of sight in the car,and then locking the car and taking the keys inside the house. Those actions make it harder for thieves, who rely on opportunity to commit criminal acts.
A common practice is for thieves to drive through a neighborhood and walk up to parked cars. They check to see if a car is unlocked by pulling on the door handle. If the car is locked, they will move on until they find one that is unlocked.
Thieves do not want to break a car window because it makes noise and they are more likely to get caught, police said. That’s why they look for cars that have been left unlocked.
Police will act on suspicious activity if they see it or if it is reported to them. But if someone drives up and approaches a car, the owner’s last line of defense is a properly locked car, police said.