Merced Hit Hard By Burglars

Merced The exclusive action news Crime tracker looks at crime trends in the Valley. In this Merced neighborhood, seven red dots show where the burglaries are happening. They're right on top of each other, on Bixby Way and Strathmore Drive.

All seven of the homes are new and unoccupied. Police say the burglars planned their attack and took items they knew could easily be sold on the streets.

The shattered glass door in the back of this new home in north Merced is one of the only visible signs of the damage done by thieves this week. Police say burglars hit four vacant homes and three model homes in the subdivision, stealing about 100 thousand dollars worth of merchandise.

Lt. Bimley West, Merced Police Dept.: "Items of property taken was appliances, furniture, and other home decorations."

Neighbors in the area say although the homes were all unoccupied, the crime itself is still disturbing.

William Gaxiola, Merced Resident: "I'm saddened. I've only been here a month. The reason I moved here was mainly because of the beautiful homes that are being built here."

All seven of the homes are in the Riverstone section of the Bellevue Ranch Community. As our exclusive action news crime tracker shows, they're all within a one block radius.

A spokesperson for the developer who owns the properties says they suspect a recent newspaper article that gave the location of the vacant homes may have tipped off the thieves. He also says most of the houses once had interested buyers, but financing problems prevented any final purchases.

"They are turning up some leads"

Lieutenant Bimley West says the department is increasing security in new subdivisions like this one where many homes are left empty.

"We're beefing up our patrol to give extra patrol to these areas to prevent these crimes from occurring."

Authorities have not yet identified any suspects for these burglaries. But they believe the thieves used a truck to haul away the stolen items. They're asking anyone with any information about this case to call the Merced Police Department.

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