COLCHESTER, VT. >> Police in Colchester are investigating a string of recent home burglaries that have plagued the Mallets Bay section of the Vermont town.

Police say five homes in the area have been burglarized since the end of August.

In each incident, thieves forced their way into the houses during daytime hours and stole jewelry and other valuables while the homeowners were away.

Det. Cpl. Mark Jacobs says he believes the burglaries stem from the community's growing opiate problem. He says drug addicts in these cases are generally seeking anything with monetary value that they can sell or trade to feed their addiction.

Police are urging residents to keep their homes secure by locking all windows and doors when they leave, especially on secluded sides of their residences.