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A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH is in effect for Austin, Burleson, Lee, and Washington Counties until 10am. A few strong to severe thunderstorms cannot be ruled out through mid-morning. Damaging winds in excess of 60mph and large hail are the main concern.
The unusually large number of break-ins has the attention of Hearne police and residents. But even more alarming, the numbers are increasing. Of the 19 home burglaries in 2005, 10 have happened in April alone.
In a matter of 20 minutes, Noah Fernandez's home was broken into last week. His door was kicked in, clothes were all over the floor and a cell phone and jewelry were missing.
"It’s a safe neighborhood we've never had all these problems constantly happen like this." says Fernandez.
In the same day, another break in just down the road from Noah's home. That makes 10 burglaries in the last month and that has neighbors concerned.
Seven out of the 10 burglaries have happened within eight blocks of each other.
Adriana Orozco has lived in this neighborhood for the past four years and says it's a pretty quiet area and everyone looks out for each other. She's concerned though, that her house could be next.
"You don't know when it’s gonna happen you just walk into your house and start looking around to see if you got robbed or not." says Orozco.
A single arrest could be the break police need to stem a crime wave that's been sweeping through Hearne.
Police have charged 42-year-old Derek Leon Hardrick with three counts of burglary and arson. The suspect's bail is set at $100,000.
While police have one suspect, they're continuing their investigation in hopes of finding others In the meantime, Hearne police are looking to start up a neighborhood watch program.
"It would help get citizens involved in their community and get us more information in a timely manner." says Lieutenant Ernie McNabb.
So while police are keeping their eyes peeled, so are residents in hopes of bringing this string of burglaries to an end.
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