Local Robberies Could be Related to Heroin Abuse - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Local Robberies Could be Related to Heroin Abuse

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Heroin (Photo: CBS) Heroin (Photo: CBS)

LEWES, Del.- According to Delaware State Police, local robberies and burglaries at small businesses in the area could be tied to drug use.

Several crimes in the Lewes/Rehoboth area have locals on edge. Liz Vitella is a manager at Surf Bagel, where she said a couple weeks back more than $600 worth of food was stolen in an overnight burglary.

"Aside from it being scary," she said. "It's a lot of money, a lot of loss right there."

A suspect, in the crime, identified as Jermaine Maker has since been arrested.

"It's a huge concern," Vitella added. "We have to up our security."

Just down Route 1, police said a TD Bank and Subway restaurant, as well as a Dunkin Donuts in Long Neck, were robbed at gunpoint by the same woman.

Another Dunkin Donuts in Frederica was recently robbed as well.

Both DSP and local police departments agree that nine times out of 10, the driving force behind such crimes is the same: heroin.

According to Rehoboth Beach Police Chief Keith Banks, the small beach town has seen four robberies this year so far, and only one last year, and zero the year before. 

"With the heroin, it's a depressant and they need a fix, they physically get ill without it so they really crave the drug," he said. "So they go back and commit these crimes in order to be able to get money somehow to be able to pay for their habit."

"It's very sad, something needs to be done," Vitella mentioned. "I was talking to a friend the other day and sure there's always been drug use, but nothing like there is today."

Both DSP and Rehoboth police said while upping enforcement is important, treatment is a big factor in decreasing these local robberies.

"They go hand in hand," Banks said. "You can't do one without the other."

Until then, police say local businesses should also rely on security camera to catch the criminals in the act.

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