A series of burglaries in Essex, Clinton and southern Franklin counties has left one resident not only victimized but also irate.

"I am so mad, so furious," said Diane Kirby, whose Wilmington home was burglarized Saturday afternoon while she and her husband, Robert, were at a Fourth of July parade.

The Kirbys returned home to find a rock smashed through the window of the garage door, which was left ajar.

Someone had pillaged through every drawer in the kitchen and in the couple's bedroom, making off with jewelry, a Dell laptop and a silver dollar from the early 1800s — a coin Mrs. Kirby has cherished since her mother gave one to her and each of her siblings 45 years ago.

"It may be worth only $50 or $60," she said. "But it's sentimental. It's traveled with me for 45 years."

The Kirbys are offering a $1,000 reward to anyone with information that leads to the recovery of their stolen possessions.

"These things are so distinctive; someone is going to recognize them," Mrs. Kirby said.

She learned that she is one of several recent burglary victims in the region.

"(State Police) told me on Saturday that there have been seven break-ins around here. And then (Tuesday), there were two more."

State Police in Wilmington confirmed Wednesday that they were investigating two more break-ins: at the Cold Spring Granite Co. on Route 9N in AuSable Forks and A&W All-American Food on Route 86 in Wilmington.

"They're piling up," said Investigator Joel Revette, who works with the Ray Brook-based State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Revette, citing an ongoing investigation that spans two counties, did not say the exact number of thefts or whether they may be connected but said there have been "numerous burglaries" in AuSable Forks, Wilmington, Jay, North Elba, Lake Placid and Saranac Lake.

The increase in burglaries began in the last two months but has accelerated in the last two weeks, Revette said.

"It's been residences, it's been commercial establishments — you name it — vacation homes, camps. There is no real limit. They are not just doing one type of burglary."

Most of the burglaries have included forced entries, Revette said, but some have not. None of the recent burglaries have resulted in physical confrontations.

"We've had a couple where people left their residences for an hour and half, and during that time, their house was broken into."

That is how Mrs. Kirby says she was victimized.

"We were gone for two hours, so we know we were targeted. It's someone local. I don't believe in coincidence."

Mrs. Kirby, a North Country native who moved back about five years ago, said the incident was worsened by her 11-year-old son Kyle's dismay over the stolen computer.

"He cried his eyes out," she said. "Enough is enough. We've got to do something. Every little bit of this ruins the quality of life around here."

State Police are encouraging North Country residents to lock all doors and windows when they leave their homes.

Anyone with any information regarding the burglaries is encouraged to contact State Police in Ray Brook at 897-2000.

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