Thieves have been stealing cash, jewelry and valuables from homes in Vaughan this summer, often while residents are away on vacation.
York Regional Police say that at least nine homes have been hit in the Clark Avenue and New Westminster Drive area since June, whether through break-ins, thefts or related attempts.
Homes have been entered during overnight hours, generally by a suspect or suspects breaking windows or forcing open doors. Alarm wires have been cut and alarm sensors disabled.
"There's a commonality in the ways that these houses are being entered," Sgt. Clint Whitney told CBC News in an interview on Wednesday.
Lilya Perelshtein arrived home from a holiday last weekend to find her jewelry boxes overturned and empty.
"What really makes me angry is, it doesn't matter the value of what they took because for somebody, it may be peanuts, for somebody it could be a lot. For me it was mine," she said.
Police are urging homeowners to take steps to protect their properties, including securing all doors and windows and having deadbolt locks installed on exterior doors.
For those heading out of town, police say homeowners should arrange to have their mail and newspaper deliveries stopped and for neighbours to keep an eye on their properties. Police say it also can be worth having a neighbour park in your driveway while you are away for an extended period.
Other police tips include using timers on lights and ensuring that shrubs and trees are not blocking windows and doors.
Members of the public are urged not to share their travel plans on their social media accounts or voicemail messages.
'They broke down my door'
Police are trying to determine if these robberies could relate to a string of prior incidents that have occurred in the area since October.
Hana Riczker's home was targeted in March.
"They broke down my door and the alarm went off," she said.
The suspect took off.
Riczker said there weren’t any newspapers piled up on her porch, though she concedes that she could have left the light on.
Whitney said local residents shouldn't hesitate to call police if they see something suspicious.
"Don't feel bad about calling us," he said. "If you see something that seems amiss, let the police know — we'll come down, we'll investigate it and it could make all the difference."