Marengo-area burglaries frustrate police, residents
MARENGO – Homes, cars and commercial property in the Marengo area again are being burglarized, and at least one resident is questioning the local police response.
“I’m sure this is not isolated to Marengo or McHenry County,” Marengo Police Chief Joseph Hallman said. “People are stealing stuff all over the place right now, probably because it’s partly being driven by the economy. A lot of people are out of work, a lot of people are looking for opportunity.”
In an effort to stem break-ins, the Marengo Police Department and McHenry County Sheriff’s Office are asking residents to be aware of suspicious activity in neighborhoods and promptly contact authorities about suspicious activity.
Residents in the city and its unincorporated parts have reported nine burglaries since April, including three in the daytime in late May that prompted an alert from the sheriff’s office. Last summer, police were investigating five burglaries in Marengo, where typically more than two burglaries in a short span of time is unusual, Hallman said.
Local officials said the burglaries are likely the result of many factors and involve burglars working independently.
Burglaries within the city limits mostly have been people breaking into unlocked homes, Hallman said, while burglaries in unincorporated areas have been forced, daytime entries. In both cases, residents have reported stolen or missing jewelry, electronics, weapons and cash.
The lack of a pattern has led officials to conduct more patrols to identify vehicles and possible suspects, sheriff’s Lt. James Popovits said. The local and county authorities also are exchanging information about the burglaries.
“This is an ongoing, active investigation,” Popovits said. “We’ve done some proactive measures to try and identify some suspects, and we are still following up on some leads.”
But resident David Allgood, of the 2100 block of Telegraph Street, said he doubts the police’s commitment to arresting suspects. Allgood’s garage was burglarized in early May. it also was burglarized in October.
With two burglaries at his home in about seven months, Allgood is threatening to again display a “Marengo sucks” sign on his property. The sign drew the ire of city and police officials after the burglary last fall.
Allgood originally branded the sign out of frustration with the police, arguing that detectives took more than a month in the fall to respond to his calls about the burglary. He said he hasn’t seen better responsiveness from the department this time.
“I am very, very close to putting the sign back up again,” Allgood said. “The burglaries are not going to stop anytime soon. The only way it’s going to stop is if the police department starts doing its job and people start paying attention.”
Hallman, who has met privately with Allgood, said residents need to be open to working with authorities and report suspicious activity immediately. Police can’t afford to continuously patrol every street, he said.
He also said residents need to keep serial numbers and receipts from items to help the police track stolen goods.
“It’s as frustrating to us as it is to the residents,” Hallman said. “They want law and order as much as we do, but we are trying to do our job. Instead of waiting a few days (to report), call us, let us know.”