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Benton Harbor neighborhood bombarded by burglaries

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -- A Benton Harbor neighborhood filled with families is on edge because their homes keep getting broken into.

“I’m trying to move out of this area because I can’t take it anymore,” said Jasmine Gray.

It’s been home for five years. And it’s been broken into just as many times.

Gray said her Benton Harbor house was hit again on Saturday.

Thieves broke through her basement window while she and her family weren’t home and stole money, a gaming system, and the flat-screen television that used to be on a mount in a bedroom.

“My 4-year-old, he was very terrified,” Gray said. “He didn’t even want to come in the house.”

The break-ins have been happening in a section of Benton Harbor that is north of downtown – around High Street, Brunson Avenue, Lincoln Street, and more.

“I was at work, about 6 o’clock, I get a call from my brother and he’s like, ‘Somebody broke in the house!’” said Joshua Perry. “And I’m like, what? I’m like, in panic. I’m like, oh my God.”

Perry’s home is just one block over from Gray’s.

His basement window was smashed and his big-screen TV was stolen on Tuesday evening.

His neighbor pointed out that the motion light facing the broken window had also been knocked out.

“It’s sad to say, cause I’ve been in this neighborhood for a long time – and it’s sad to say that I don’t feel safe in my own neighborhood,” Perry said.

“I put my purse down on my table and I turned back around to go back out the front door again, and I noticed my TV was gone,” said Deneise Dennard.

Deenard’s big-screen TV was also stolen, along with a lot of other valuables, on Halloween Day.

She had replaced all those things 11 months prior, after a break-in happened the day after Christmas 2016.

“You want to be safe and comfortable in your home,” she said. “If nowhere else, your home is – that’s where you’re supposed to be safe. And you just don’t feel it no more. You never know when your house is going to get broken into again. Especially twice in one year? That’s ridiculous.”

Everyone ABC57 spoke with said they were not home when the burglaries happened.

They each said their televisions were between 50 and 65 inches in size, so they think more than one person had to be involved.

A police source said there is a person of interest they’re looking for, but as of Wednesday evening, no arrests had been made.

Several Benton Harbor Police cruisers were patrolling the neighborhood on Wednesday. One officer said they’ve been on high alert for any suspicious activity in the area.

Dennard said the neighborhood gets so dark at night because there are so few street lights.

She said she wants everyone to keep their porch lights on.

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