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New England Thieves Target PS3, XBox 360

Police say the theft of more than $20,000 in video game equipment and software from a Hooksett store could be linked to a string of burglaries across New England.

Surveillance tape at the EP Games store shows three masked burglars disabling the store's security alarm late Sunday night and making off with 22 consoles, police said. The suspects also stole at least $13,000 worth of games.

"When you watch the video, you'll see these guys know exactly what they're doing," Lt. Paul Cecilio said. "These guys are highly organized, which only means they're going to hit again."

The crime may be connected to several other similar thefts across the region, including two burglaries last month at EP Games stores in Derry and Bedford, police said. Investigators are discussing potential links to similar burglaries in Massachusetts and Rhode Island as well.

In New Hampshire, the thieves have targeted Microsoft's year-old XBox 360 and Sony's new PlayStation 3. Several of the PlayStation consoles were stolen in Derry on Nov. 16, the night before the system went on sale. The same night, 18 XBox 360s were stolen in Bedford.

The thieves tried to steal the floor model PlayStation 3 in Hooksett, the only one in the store, but couldn't get into the metal cabinet housing it.

Det. Matt Fleming warned consumers to be cautious when buying game consoles since they could be stolen merchandise. And he said burglars breaking into homes could be looking for the games.

"If you have these types of items, secure them in your home as best you can," he said.

Police have stepped up patrols around shopping areas due to the thefts.

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