Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

February 12, 2013

Residents of the two Virginias on high alert with burglary reports on the rise

By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — In the days of a sour economy and widespread drug use, reports that people have come home to find windows or doors pried open by burglars have become a frequent occurrence.

Local law enforcement agencies have made arrests in burglary cases, but the problem continues. People shopping Monday at the Mercer Mall said they keep hearing stories about break-ins around their communities. In some cases, people turn to thievery in order to support themselves and their families, one Giles County resident said.

“I think it’s becoming a problem with the economy and the drug issues,” said David Robbins, 52, of Pearisburg, Va. “It’s a problem everywhere.”

Break-ins are a topic of discussion in many communities. A Mercer County resident said she had not been a victim of burglary and did not know anybody who had experienced a break-in, but she often hears about it in her area.

“I think it’s gotten worse,” said Mary Shrewsbury, 54, of Lashmeet. “Really, that’s all you hear about. It’s gotten worse, a lot worse.”

“It’s a large problem. I hear about it every day,” Cathy Brock, 42, of Princeton, said of local burglaries. “It’s getting worse. My husband had his vehicle stolen.”

For other residents, the trend of burglaries has been a surprise. One Tazewell County person said she did not hear about break-ins until she read stories in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph about burglaries and recent arrests.

“I was actually surprised once I saw that in the paper,” said Renee Perkins, 51, of Tazewell, Va. She added that she routinely takes precautions such as double-checking the locks on her doors.

“Even if you don’t suspect anything is going on like that, it’s better to be safe than sorry,” Perkins added.

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com