Residents Turning the Deadbolt in Schnecksville

21 residents have had their home burglarized or have been robbed

In all her 50 years living in Schnecksville, it never once crossed Ruth Schneck's mind, but now this 88-year-old grandmother vigilantly locks her door.

A lesson learned after someone broke into her house just a few weeks ago.

“The day before it happened I was out cutting my grass and the doors are all open. We never had problems,” Schneck said Monday.

Nothing was stolen, but 21 people in this growing North Whitehall Township community have had their homes burglarized or robbed in the last two months, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

Its part of a crime wave that also included the rape of an elderly woman.

The break-ins are happening so often that just Sunday night, police had to run out of a crime watch meeting.

“One of the people at the meeting got a call from her daughter that their house was being burglarized -- that someone was trying to get in,” said crime watch organizer Richard Haberern.

Haberern said the officers got there in minutes, scaring off the would-be intruders.

“Unfortunately the neighbor aside of me was burglarized and a few houses up street, neighbor was robbed at gunpoint,” Haberern said.

State police have arrested one man they believe is responsible for the majority of the burglaries, but they have yet to track down the rapist who struck here -- leaving so many feeling vulnerable and scared.

“We had a woman last night who said she had a gun for years, but never used it. But now she’s ready to use it in light of the rape,” another crime watch organizer Greg Pothering said.

Schnecksville doesn't have its own police force. The town relies on state police out of Bethlehem to protect their streets.

Haberen and pothering have formed the area's first crime watch group, in hopes of better informing neighbors, like Ruth Schneck, of what to watch out for and what to do should crime come knocking on their door.

 “I’m not afraid of living here, but I have to keep the doors locked, all the time,” Schneck said.

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