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Thieves don't take vacation at holidays


December 20, 2010
STURBRIDGE — While most people are purchasing gifts and attending parties throughout the next week, thieves will be determining their next targets. A recent breaking and entering incident at a residence on Mashapaug Road serves as a reminder for residents to keep their doors locked and personal information protected this holiday season.

The incident occurred at about 3 p.m. on a Friday recently and the Sturbridge Police will not release information about the parties involved until their investigation is closed. No arrests have been made yet in connection with the crime.

Meanwhile, the Sturbridge and State Police are urging residents to be vigilant while at home and in stores, as there is typically a spike in breaking and entering incidents, robberies, and identity theft reports during the holiday season.

"Unfortunately, there are many criminals out there who use the holidays to target victims who get distracted by the busy season," stated Charles Montaldo, a private detective who contributes to several online newsletters about law enforcement agencies and crime solving practices.

Many victims of theft around Christmas are robbed while shopping at busy stores, because thieves search for preoccupied customers who are careless with their wallets, pocketbooks, and purchases. Officials from the State Police recommend not carrying large amounts of cash, leaving your purchases unattended for long periods of time, or wearing excessive jewelry while shopping. Also, beware of strangers who approach you and start a conversation, as they may be attempting to distract you so someone else can steal your goods.

Thieves won't simply be targeting purchases this holiday season – identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America, and people have become quite adept at executing this insidious crime. The Sturbridge Police recommend limiting the amount of personal information you give out over the phone and obtaining free credit reports to monitor your credit history.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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