LENOX -- A quiet neighborhood of attractive homes and well-tended yards tuck ed between Holmes Road and an overlook onto Route 7 & 20 is on alert following a series of break-ins -- and one failed attempt -- in the past two months.
"We're in shock," said Carol Privitera, a 30-year Holmes wood Terrace resident whose husband, Mario, is the longtime owner of Steve's Barber Shop in Lee. "Before all this, we never had any trouble. Until Friday night, we had all assumed we were now OK."
The Friday early evening break-in and larceny on Holmeswood Terrace was the first in nearly six weeks. Four previous incidents took place be tween March 10 and 31.
The Privitera home was broken into in late March and suffered about $4,000 in combined losses and damage, said Carol Pri vitera, who discovered the break-in upon her return from a trip to Florida.
During a walk-through of the 15-home neighborhood with The Eagle on Monday afternoon, Police Chief Stephen O'Brien pointed out easy access to the residences up a short incline from the back of three businesses.
Nearby woods with trails also make for an easy escape route, he noted.
O'Brien said police have interviewed a handful of potential suspects, but there are no solid leads. A report detailing the losses from Friday night's incident was still being prepared Mon day afternoon. All the break-ins, occurring just before dusk, have followed the same pattern, said O'Brien.
Privitera's losses include a desktop computer, silver coins, her husband's 50-year-old class ring, a pair of gold earrings and even a pillow case.
"These people are ghost-like or just plain lucky," Carol Privitera said of the perpetrators.
"One silver lining is that people are coming out of their homes to make friends. If anything good comes of this, it will be neighbors getting together."
Another resident whose home has not been targeted attributed his good fortune to Jethro -- his highly vocal Chihuahua-dachshund mix.
"He's small, but mighty," said Edward Sigall. "He's as good as an alarm system."
Sigall called the break-ins "disappointing."
"This is a nice, quiet, usually calm street and neighbors are respectful of each other," he said. Sigall is keeping the lights on in the back of the house and on the porch.
Sigall observed that having previously lived in a "rough part of Boston it's property, people aren't being hurt. The chief and the other police are doing a good job."
He continued, "I think there's too much fear in our lives now, so I'm not going to add to it. But I feel sorry about my neighbors. People should be concerned. It's a shame what happened."
"It's scary," said Yumiko Rowley. "I feel so bad for our neighbors, everyone seems to get along. It's terrible. I don't know why our little neighborhood is being targeted."
O'Brien said that while patrols have been stepped up, it's not possible to station an officer on the block every evening.
"But that costs money, and I don't have it," O'Brien said.
The chief advised residents to do everything possible to secure their homes.
To reach Clarence Fanto:
or (413) 496-6247
On Twitter: @BE_cfanto