LEETONIA - After a number of breaking and enterings in the past few weeks, police want the residents to call them regarding any suspicious activity they see while it's occurring.
Police Chief John Soldano said Tuesday there were five or six homes burglarized along with St. Patrick Catholic church and the old church school.
"They're focusing around Oak and Main Streets," Soldano said, explaining, "they're risking breaking in and stealing food out of those homes.
"One house had a small television on a kitchen counter and a PlayStation taken."
Soldano said that on Sunday night or Monday morning they entered through a window in the old church school where the food that is to be given away is stored but they only took a food basket with a couple of wine bottles.
"The freezers were full of meat and all kinds of food," he said, "but they only took the food basket" that was to be raffled off to raise funds for the food pantry.
Soldano would like to hear from anyone who has seen the food basket or has information that might help by calling 330-427-6731.
The burglaries are occurring in the early evening, he said.
"We haven't pinpointed a time, but it's after dark. We've got our investigator working and an agent from the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCII) helped get us fingerprints.
"We're getting a little concerned because from 6 p.m. on there could be somebody home," he said, "they've just been stealing miscellaneous food, it's hard to say if they're hungry or desperate, there's no MO (modus operandi), it's hard to say.
"It's ongoing ... if they're taking food it's probably kids."
He couldn't be sure but the entry through windows suggests a small person, Soldano said adding it appears they broke a window pane at the school on Sunday.
"It's a big deal," he said, explaining the break-ins cost homeowners money.
"People need to be aware of what's going on around them, anyone who is unfamiliar around the area, call us when it's going on and a officer can get down there" instead of the next day after they find out there was a break-in, he said.
Larry Shields can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org