Woman Who Once Headed up Neighborhood Crime Watch, Arrested on Burglary Charges
POSTED: Friday, July 15, 2011 - 2:27pm
UPDATED: Saturday, July 16, 2011 - 10:50am
A woman recently arrested on a burglary charge was once involved with the Neighborhood Crime Watch in her community.
One of the biggest burglaries in the small town of Indian Lake yielded two arrests this week.
Peggy Bartholomew and Vicente Atkinson are accused of teaming up to burglarize an elderly resident the two worked for.
Police say they got away with nearly $25,000 dollars worth of currency, antique coins and jewelry that were locked away in a safe.
The woman tied to the crime was once in a trusted position with members of the community.
"She was involved with the Neighborhood Crime Watch, she was kind of the head of the crime watch that was forming," said Indian Lake Police Chief John Chambers.
The police department initially wanted to team up with the neighborhood watch to make it even stronger, but a problem with how things should be run came up.
"I started noticing there were concerns, things were happening and weren't being performed the way I wanted," said the chief.
Then it seemed as if the PD's input was no longer wanted.
The police chief added at one point a small group of people connected to the Neighborhood Crime Watch actually tried to get the PD removed from the town so that individuals could patrol the town themselves.
It was then that the police department pulled away from the crime watch, letting the group operate independently.
And then a spike...The town saw a few burglaries in a short time after members started self patrolling.
While some of those burglaries have been solved a few remain open. The chief can't help but think some of the patrolling done by a select few members of the group may have actually been the scoping out of homes to burglarize; the timing was just too in synch.
"We didn't necessarily want people patrolling and exercising a type of authority, we just wanted everyone to pitch in and notify us if there were unusual or suspicious activities in the neighborhoods," said the chief.
The chief warns other neighborhoods to really take a look at who's trying to head up their neighborhood watches and to take an even closer look at the person if they are trying to get law enforcement out of the picture. He says that should be a big red flag that something may be up.
As of now, the Neighborhood Crime Watch group has fizzled out, residents still report suspicious activity, but an actual group is not in place in Indian Lake.