Sheriff reminds county residents to be careful this holiday season

Huntington County Sheriff Terry Stoffel is once again reminding citizens to be vigilant this holiday season, so their Christmas joy doesn’t turn into a yuletide disaster.

Among some tips to help ensure that houses don’t become tempting to burglars, Stoffel says homeowners should make it look like someone is always at home.

“Leave some lights on timers, because some houses with the extra goodies are a big target for people this time of year,” he says. “We usually have a little spike in break-ins, where they go in and take Christmas presents. It would be good for then to do their due diligence and leave the lights on.”

Although no holiday-related crimes have yet been reported in Huntington County, Stoffel says there always are some every year. Residents need to take charge of when and how deliveries are made.

“If they’re expecting things to be delivered to the house, be sure that there is somebody there to get the packages or get them inside in a timely manner,” he warns. “It’s kind of been an upswing and trend in our society, that people drive by and see stuff on the porch – they’ll even go so far as to dress in brown like the UPS guy, pick them up, put them in their car and drive away.”

Stoffel advocates neighbors keeping an eye on each other’s property, and noting who comes and goes up to their doors. Call police if something looks suspicious.

“It is the time of year, with all the extra presents and electronics, we do get people who will blow in, rob a house and take specifically just what’s under the tree. They won’t mess with stuff that’s on the wall or maybe has serial numbers recorded,” he says. “It’s an easy target for them.”

Families who leave their house to attend Christmas Eve or Christmas Day services should also take note and make sure their homes are secure and presents are not visible to those who want to play the Grinch this year.