Police Seek Clues in Pool Parking Lot Burglaries
Four women had pocketbooks stolen from cars at Westville Pool Friday.
The West Caldwell Police have no leads so far in their investigation of Friday’s multiple car burglaries at a town pool parking lot.
One of the four victims who had her purse stolen from the Westville Pool lot said she had hidden her handbag under the passenger seat of her Lincoln MKX.
The woman, who asked that her name not be used, said by Monday morning she had already cancelled her credit cards, obtained a new driver’s license, changed her car locks and repaired the broken window.
The four women had their pocketbooks stolen from four separate cars between 1:45 and 3:15 p.m., according to police. The passenger car windows were broken in all cases in order to snatch the pocketbooks, each containing cash, credit cards and other valuables.
West Caldwell Police Chief Michael Bramhall said Monday the police do not know what the burglar or burglars used to break the windows.
“We found nothing left behind,” Bramhall said. “We have no evidence of what was used, but I imagine that it was something fairly quiet for it to not draw attention.”
Bramhall said there is no video surveillance of the pool parking lot on Westville Avenue. He said the police are relying on eyewitness information.
A member of the First Baptist Church of Caldwell who admitted he was putting flyers on cars in the lot Friday was questioned, but has not been connected to the car burglaries.
“He was not there when we got to the pool,” Bramhall said. “We did locate him in Caldwell and we did speak with him.”
The flyers advertised the church’s free vacation bible school, which started Monday and runs through Friday at the Bloomfield Avenue church in Caldwell.
Bramhall said the church member claimed to be in the parking lot for 15 minutes.
“He claimed he did not witness anything,” Bramhall said.
The chief said all the cars that were broken into were parked in the center of the parking lot, out of view from pool guests.
In addition to West Caldwell, the victims are women from Roseland, Fairfield and East Hanover.
The woman Patch spoke to said she left the pool to check her SUV when word spread that cars had been broken into.
She said there was a church flyer on her windshield when she discovered her window broken and purse missing. It was “hard to fathom” how the burglaries occurred in a busy parking lot, she said.
“No place is safe,” she said. “It was stupidity on my part."
Bramhall said he cannot recall another time when a series of cars were broken into at a town pool as they were on Friday.
“I’ve been here 24 years,” he said. “I don’t recall seeing something like this.”
He added that whether the women had hidden their purses or had them in plain view, he doesn’t think “anyone deserves to be the victim of a crime.”
He said, “I would like to believe and still believe that you could enjoy our recreational facilities as they are meant to be used.”
Bramhall said patrol officers are continuing to monitor both Westville and Cedar Street pools.
Anyone who sees unusual activity, should call the police department at 973-226-4114.