A recent spike in thefts has prompted a message from Dalton and Hinsdale police: Please lock your home and car doors and report anyone suspicious.

Over the past few months, the chiefs of both departments said, there has been an escalation in thefts in their communities. Most of the activity has been reported during the daytime hours, with a majority of thieves gaining access to homes and vehicles that are left unlocked.

"We're definitely in a period of higher activity than normal," Dalton Police Chief Jeffrey Coe said Thursday.

Homes recently targeted in Dalton were located along Grange Hall Road, Daly Avenue and Robinson Avenue.

In Hinsdale, thefts have been reported on Robinson Avenue -- which connects the two towns -- and others on Peru Road and Plunkett Avenue.

"A lot of our residents are older people who've lived here all their lives and aren't used to locking their houses and cars," Hinsdale Police Chief Nancy Daniels said. "Everyone should realize that it's really a good idea at this point."

Items stolen from homes include jewelry, electronics and "anything easily pawned," Coe said.

Additionally, snow and leaf blowers, chain saws, gas cans, tools and other valuables have reportedly gone missing from garages and sheds in both towns. Daniels said the Hinsdale Mini Storage units on Peru Road have been broken into more than once by people using bolt cutters and a bike theft problem also exists in the town.

One person who was recently arrested in Dalton on a warrant apparently had been going door-to-door handing out business cards in town.


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"We think that this is actually the modus operandi of some of them," Coe said. "They're knocking on doors with one pretense or another but canvassing is what they're really doing."

The chiefs said though few arrests have been made, investigations indicate the suspects likely come from within the county but outside the towns.

"There's more drug activity going on [in the county]," Daniels said. "People need to feed their habit and sometimes they resort to this to do it."

To reach Phil Demers:

pdemers@berkshireeagle.com

or (413) 464-1527.

On Twitter: @BE_PhilD