Spree continues with more Cape burglaries

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Josh Vandergraph and his expectant wife returned to their south-side Cape Girardeau home that was in much different shape than when they left it. To use Vandergraph's words, it was trashed.

Contents of every closet were spilled onto the floor. Papers rustled in some places wall to wall. Bedroom drawers had been sifted through and tossed into disarray.

"They ransacked our home," said Vandergraph, the 28-year-old pastor of Overcomers Church of God. "We've been here cleaning all day.

Not to mention the items that were taken: a PlayStation 3, a Nintendo Wii, video games and $350 in cash of the church's money.

But the biggest blow to Vandergraph was a digital camera that had captured images of their son, from his birth until last Christmas.

"All those memories are gone," Vandergraph said.

A burglary spree in Cape Girardeau saw four more added to the total Tuesday, which pushed the year-to-date number to 55, a 37 percent increase from last year. Many burglaries seem to have targeted electronics, which are easier to steal because of their size. They are worth more because of their popularity.

The Cape Girardeau Police Department on Tuesday reported burglaries on North Frederick and South Ellis streets, and on Terry Lane and North Henderson Avenue, at seemingly inconsistent spots of the city. No suspects had been brought into custody, according to department spokesman Darin Hickey.

Hickey didn't want to call it a trend this early in the year, saying that there's no way to know what the rest of the year will bring. Another unknown, he said, is how many burglaries go unreported each year.

"We are relying on the human element to make these reports," Hickey said. "What has been reported to us so far this year is 55. For the next four months, the number may slow down quite a bit. There's no way to predict."

Police are focusing efforts on finding the culprits. Hickey declined to comment when asked who police believe is committing the burglaries.

"Obviously, there's no way to know until the crime is solved," he said. "But it's definitely a priority to us."

For victims like the Vandergraphs, on Tuesday they were thankful they weren't home at the time of the break-in. He shuddered at the thought of what if he had left his wife at home alone.

"There's a part of me that wants justice," Vandergraph said. "But there's a side of me that's already forgiven them."



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