By Joe Beck
WOODSTOCK -- The Shenandoah County Sheriff's Office is asking citizens for help in solving a string of home invasions and burglaries that have been plaguing the area for almost six months.
Maj. Scott Proctor said the eight crimes dating back to September could be related. They have some common traits and have tended to come in quick succession within concentrated areas, Proctor said.
The most recent crimes were a home invasion and burglary committed on Wednesday within a few hours of each other on Lakeview Drive in Woodstock.
Proctor said a male entered the home of a woman around 2:30 a.m. in the 300 block of Lakeview Drive. The intruder grabbed her purse and fled after she confronted him. The purse contained prescription pills, and an undisclosed amount of cash and jewelry, Proctor said.
Hours later, another homeowner on Lakeview Drive reported a burglary in which a serving tray and other dinnerware and household items were stolen, Proctor said.
The incidents involved no injuries or weapons, Proctor said.
Proctor said all of the cases involved a male 5 feet 8 inches to 6 feet tall.
"In many of the cases, the homeowner confronted the suspect who took what he could and fled on foot," Proctor said.
Some eyewitness reports said the intruder fled the crime scenes on foot and then drove off in a car.
Proctor urged citizens to keep an eye out for any individuals or vehicles that appear out of place.
"My main point is we're asking for public assistance mainly so people will report suspicious activity and report it immediately," Proctor said.
Proctor said the Sheriff's Office is also investigating three break-ins on Jan. 21, one in Mount Olive, one in the 11000 block of Back Road in Mauertown and one in the 2000 block of John Marshall Highway near Strasburg.
The three other crimes were committed around Edinburg late last year, Proctor said.
He said the break-ins and home invasions could also be related to similar crimes reported recently in Middletown.
"We don't know for sure if all these are connected, but we're not ruling that out," Proctor said.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or email@example.com