NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – A series of car burglaries occurred during the overnight last Friday night into Saturday morning on the east side of North Plainfield, with the police identifying at least six break-ins and more likely.
The majority of the thefts occurred between nine and eleven in the evening on Manning Avenue between Belmont and North Jackson across from the newly opened Somerset Hills School. Another similar incident was reported on Sunday afternoon on Somerset Street.
None of the thefts were large, with items being stolen including four dollars in parking change, but at least one pocketbook and a suitcase were taken. In both cases the items were rifled through and left elsewhere to be found by investigating police officers.
Cars were parked both on and off the street, and all the cars were unlocked.
Police in multiple Somerset and Union County communities have reported similar sprees, with one or more people walking down a street looking in cars to see if there are valuables in sight. They break into as many cars as they can as quickly as possible and then move one.
Police Officers Michael VonSprecke, Jesus Medina, Stacey Aivaliotis and Richard Dow reported to a single report of a break-in on Manning Avenue, and then combed the neighborhood to check cars parked on the street. During the investigation they discovered the other on-street burglaries. On Saturday a family on Belmont Avenue reported that three cars parked in their driveway, also unlocked, had been entered and their contents rifled through but nothing beyond an iPod charger stolen.
At this time no arrests have been made.
“Locking your car will not prevent someone from breaking into your car if you have something visible, it won’t,” said North Plainfield Police Chief William Parenti. “The best prevention is to have nothing visible in your car to entice the thieves.”
Many people leave global positioning units, MP3 players or other electronics visible in their cars. Parenti recommends that if a car owner must have something of value in their car they keep it in the trunk or the glove box even when parked in the driveway of their home.
“A GPS or iPod is quick cash for these thieves,” said Parenti. “When they are visible on a car seat it’s an open invitation for someone to break in.”
Parenti also notes that drivers need to be careful not to leave expensive items visible even when just going into a store for a few minutes. In many cases thieves will walk parking lots looking like any other shopper, but really looking for a quick score of a camera or other item. The North Plainfield Police are making a particular effort at the new Costco on Route 22 due to the newness of the store as well as the large number of cars that can obscure a person intent on burglary.