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SNOWBLOWER THEFTS PILE UP; POLICE WARN RESIDENTS

While the snow hasn't been falling with any regularity in recent weeks, Buffalo police said Monday that there's been a flurry of snowblower thefts in the University District.

Seven thefts occurred between Feb. 8 and 19, according to Lt. Larry Baehre, a department spokesman. One of those occurred in a city-line neighborhood farther south, he added.

In six cases, the equipment was stolen from garages; the seventh was taken from a shed. The University District thefts occurred on Berkshire, Hewitt, Highgate, LaSalle, Shirley and Westminster avenues. The seventh was on Wright Avenue.

"Our recommendation to people, of course, is keep your garage doors closed," Baehre said. Doors left open give thieves a chance to check out garage contents for a later visit, he said.

The lieutenant suggests using something like a bicycle chain to secure snowblowers to other large objects in the garage. "That way . . . it's very cumbersome" and could make a burglar work harder than he wants, he said.

"The same goes for bicycles," Baehre said.

It's believed the stolen snowblowers are being resold for a pittance, Baehre said. The average snowblower sells for between $500 and $700.

While it's possible that people who buy stolen snowblowers could be charged with possession of stolen property, Baehre said, this much is certain: The snowblower in question will be confiscated by police.

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