SCARSDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Someone's dropping by Westchester County homes this holiday season, and it isn't Santa.
Police say smash-and-grab break-ins are on the rise, CBS 2's Lou Young reported Thursday.
You can call them the "Grinch Gang." They are loose in the tony northern suburbs this season. They struck near one house on a golf course by smashing through the back door and ignoring the burglar alarm. The damage was still evident, CBS 2's Young reported. Scarsdale cops said they've identified a pattern.
"They're breaking in by force. They're in and out fairly quickly. We haven't been able to get latent prints, so were testing for DNA. They're probably pros," Scarsdale Police Lt. Thomas Altizio said.
The targets are always near one of the parkways and the thieves inevitably grab expensive jewelry from the master bedroom, although they're not above grabbing a stray holiday package, police said.
The break-ins apparently happen in pairs, within close proximity to one another. One house was hit last Friday, not far from the golf course house mentioned earlier, with the same m-o -- smashing the back door, grabbing the jewelry all the while the alarm was sounding.
In one case, victims arriving home were warned of the danger by their own alarm system.
"They walked in the house and they heard the alarm sounding in the house and they realized someone was in the house and they left. We called the alarm company and asked what we can do to protect ourselves," neighbor Daisy Godoy said.
The experts suggest more exterior lighting and an agreement with the person next door.
"Never underestimate the value of nosey neighbors," Lt. Altizio said.
Police said they've stepped up patrols and deployed undercover officers to try and cut down their response time.
Although Scarsdale police identified the pattern, similar break-ins have been reported in Greenburgh and New Rochelle.
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