Police Seek Clues in Pool Parking Lot Burglaries

Four women had pocketbooks stolen from cars at Westville Pool Friday.

The 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 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 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  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. 

BananaRama August 07, 2012 at 02:39 PM
In response to the comments above.... It is most likely not the "strays" committing these crime but the young people from within our own community. Looking back at recent thefts in the area like in N. Caldwell it has been teenage residents from within the town. Second no matter who commits the crime it is the responsibility of the car owner to lock their car and keep valuables in a inconspicuous place. If you leave a purse on a seat in plain view I don't care what town you are in, it is at risk of theft. If the door is opened and unlocked even better you just made a thieve's life easier. Do not go blaming police for these things or accuse minority groups from other areas because you are too ashamed to admit that most crimes are from the spoiled kids in our own area. Ignorance is an epidemic especially in Caldwell.
uncle albert August 07, 2012 at 05:21 PM
I agree 100% with "BananaRama" above. The kids in our towns (Caldwell/W.Caldwell) leave a lot to be desired. When going to CVS, on Passaic Ave, last week a group of "children" were walking from the ice cream store towards were I was standing in front of CVS, waiting for my wife. The profanity coming from those "little darlings" mouths, both boys & girls, was totally obscene. I have never heard language like that in my life, and I am a man who served 16 years in the Army !!!!!!!! When I walk my dog, sometimes I cut through Prospect Cemetery in Caldwell and eyewitness stuff that the kids are doing in there (especially after the sun is going down) that would make their parent's toes curl up and fall off their feet. Don't look any furthur then our own local "little darlings" to solve this crime.
mmk August 08, 2012 at 03:08 PM
The windows were busted on the vehicles so I'm guessing the doors were locked. Since no one noticed anything in such a busy parking lot, I was thinking it was local kids too.
Saturnian August 09, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Very respectful of you to allow your dog to defecate and urinate on peoples final resting places !
Barbara August 10, 2012 at 01:07 AM
I happened to be at the pool that day during the time the breakins occurred (however, my car was not broken into). It was scary that none of us heard anything and only became aware of it, after it occurred. From what I understand, the vehicles were all locked (which is why the windows were broken to gain access). I would not jump to any conclusions about who would do such a thing, as that should be left to the police investigation. In addition, I am also a lifelong resident of the Caldwells and have teenage children. I take offense to the comments above since not all kids in our area are "spoiled" and break into cars to steal things. Please leave this forum for a useful exchange of information and not just random comments from unhappy residents. Thanks.


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