NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Police Chief William Parenti announced today that his department has arrested three men for a recent rash of car burglaries in North Plainfield during three separate incidents. The three suspects have confessed to a total of 10 burglaries.
All the burglaries occurred during overnight hours on streets including Jefferson Avenue, Clinton Avenue, Oakridge Avenue, West End Avenue, Mountainview Drive and Greenbrook Road.
Prosecutors have not yet released the names of those arrested for these burglaries, nor the charges that have been filed against them.
Last week Parenti ordered a change to the daily police patrols around the borough in order to combat the rash of car break-ins. The new detail involves a redistribution of current patrols, and moving some officers who may have been involved in other activities to increase manpower during hours when the burglaries have been occurring. The patrols are out in plain clothes and unmarked cars as well as the normal uniformed officers and marked cruisers.
“These break-ins have been occurring all over the central New Jersey area,” said Parenti. “These three arrests, and another last week, show that our added patrols are making a difference.”
However, Parenti noted, there are a lot of bad actors who see car burglary as an easy way to pick up a few dollars from people who leave expensive items visible in their cars.
“After we make an arrest it tends to quiet down for a while,” said Parenti. “No matter how quickly we arrest them, there’s someone else to take their place.”
Parenti says that in the past it was easier to catch car burglars after the fact and return items to victims because the only option to sell stolen goods was at a pawn shop or other broker. The items would stay in the community and could be identified by their serial numbers. With the advent of the Internet, though, things have changed.
“Instead of the local pawn shop, the thieves pass the items to someone who sells them on eBay or Craig’s List,” said Parenti. “Now items are sold to other states or even countries.”
Therefore, the best option is catching the burglars in the act. Not only does it take one of the burglars off the streets, but it also means that stolen items are more likely to be returned to residents.
Parenti warns residents not to become victims of “cherry picking,” a criminal tactic where thieves will randomly select a neighborhood and walk the street looking for expensive items, unlocked vehicles or open windows. If they see a locked car with no visible and salable items they move on to the next car. When they find one that is open or has a laptop or GPS or other item visible they quickly break in and keep moving. In this way they can hit many cars in a short time and be on their way.
Residents are asked to contact the police any time they believe a car has been broken into, even if nothing is taken. The more information the police have about patterns the more they will be able to stop and prevent future burglaries.