Calera battling string of robberies

Calera Police officers are urging the city’s residents to keep their houses, vehicles and garages locked throughout the day after several daytime burglaries in many area neighborhoods.

In April, the Calera Police Department saw a “big increase” in the number of home burglaries throughout the city, Police Chief Sean Lemley told the City Council during its May 3 meeting.

As a result of the burglaries, the police department distributed notices throughout the city urging residents to keep their garage doors closed and locked.

The notices also urged everyone in the city to keep their car doors locked, and to keep valuable items stored in cars out of plain sight.

“One of the key issues we’re facing is that burglars are driving through neighborhoods looking for open garages with no cars in them,” Lemley told the council. “Once they see one, they will knock on the front door.

“If nobody answers, they will park their car in the garage, close it and go to work,” Lemley added.

Since distributing the notices and stepping up patrols throughout the city, police have arrested a pair of suspects, and have seen the number of burglaries drop off. Because the burglary investigation is ongoing, Lemley said he was unable to release the suspects’ names.

“We have two suspects in custody now that we know we can pin four burglaries on,” Lemley said. “I can’t really get into too much detail at this point, because it could jeopardize the investigation.

“In getting the word out, and stepping up patrols in several neighborhoods, we have stopped the burglaries. We have had none for a week now,” Lemley added. “We’re not Birmingham, but we’re not Mayberry. No offense to either one.”

In other business, the council:

Agreed to allow Sewer and Wastewater Operations Manager Doug Smedley advertise for a supervisor position with the department.

Voted to approve a few budget amendments requested by city Finance Director Roy Hadaway.

As part of the changes, the city will budget $3.50 per gallon of gas for all city vehicles in preparation for rising summer gas prices, Hadaway said.

Agreed to participate in the statewide sales tax-free weekend August 6-8. During the weekend, city businesses will charge no sales tax on certain clothing items, books, computer supplies and school supplies.