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      Neighbor says vacant home robberies are on the rise

      The Colonial Village Neighborhood Watch in East Albany is concerned about recent burglaries in vacant homes on Hobson Street.

      "The last week or so, people are moving out of these homes and as soon as they move out people start coming in and vandalizing them," says Harold Williams, Hobson Street resident and president in the Colonial Village Neighborhood Watch.

      According to a police report, an air compression system at 511 Hobson Street was stolen at approximately 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

      Williams says a neighbor saw someone trying to steal the air conditioning unit outside of the house when they called 911. Williams says the unit was salvaged but copper and wiring from the air conditioner was taken.

      Williams says another home at the corner of Hobson and Roosevelt was stripped of its kitchen appliances

      "You can recycle appliances. They'll take those at the recycling place as well. And if there's a bit of copper somewhere in the house, they'll take that and sell it as well," says Albany Police Department Media Manager Phyllis Banks.

      Williams wants the neighborhood to take action against these crimes by calling the police when they see criminals in action and trimming back their shrubbery to rob thieves of hiding spots.

      "What's happening they're letting all these bushes growing up around here and that's why people can get in and do what they want because nobody's looking at it," says Williams.

      Banks says it is very important to make sure when you leave your house vacant, make it look like someone's still home.

      "Maintain the property. Make it look like somebody's actually living there: Cut down shrubbery, keep the grass cut and those types of things," says Banks.

      Albany police say they are still working on these cases and looking for suspects.

      Williams says he urges those who live in the neighborhood to call 911 or police if they see someone in a yard who doesn't live there; he says neighbors should not take matters into their own hands.

      Those who live in Colonial Village can attend neighborhood watch meetings on the first Monday of each month at the East Albany precinct.