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Christmas thieves plague town in Florida

UPI News Service, 12/24/2006 

Lake Clarke Shores, Fla., where there are normally only a dozen break-ins a year, has seen 14 house robberies in the last month.

"It's that time of year," Police Chief William Smith said. "It's just the season. At Christmas, people buy gifts, people have money. Drug addicts are stealing for their dope. They get a profit."

The community of Lake Clarke Shores is made up of only 3,600 people, the Palm Beach post reported.

So far, the burglars have robbed the dentist, the insurance agent, the retired couples and others, and they have gotten away with televisions, laptops, jewelry, guns and even Christmas gifts totaling $162,212.

"If there's gifts right there, we've had where they open packages to make sure it's worth it," Smith said. "They leave the wrapping paper."

The recent string of burglaries is not the fault of the county police; they have been working overtime patrol in marked and unmarked cars, hoping to catch the burglars, the newspaper said.

In 2004 and 2005, Lake Clarke Shores had 12 residential burglaries, two of them in December. The total for 2006 in now up to 22.

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Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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