HOBOKEN, NJ - Here's yet another reminder that leaving an unoccupied vehicle running in urban North Jersey is a bad idea...

Just after 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 24 the owner of a 2012 Kia van reported his vehicle stolen from the area of 3rd & Jackson Streets. An employee had left the van running and unoccupied as he ran into a local business for a few minutes. When he returned, the vehicle was gone.

Within moments, Police Officer Joshua Campoverde located the vehicle unoccupied in the area of 1st and Monroe Street. The employee's wallet was missing, but no other items were taken.

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Detective Fabian Quinones was able to identify a suspect with the help of Police Officer Daniel Grossi. Freddy A. Mauricio, 37, from Bayonne had a warrant was issued for his arrest and on April 28 Mauricio was located and arrested. He was charged with Theft and Unlawful Taking of Means of Conveyance, and was transported to the Hudson County Correctional Facility.

This incident is the seventh time this year that vehicles had been stolen as a result of the owner/operators leaving their vehicle unoccupied and running.

"From several investigations, this is not always a crime of opportunity," said Hoboken Police, in a statement. "We have perpetrators out there actively looking for vehicles running and left unoccupied. The reason being, it is almost impossible to steal a vehicle without keys. This is due to technology and chipped keys."

HPD says, "It should go without saying, this seemingly harmless routine of leaving your vehicle running and unattended poses a public safety issue. Leaving your vehicle running is a violation of New Jersey Statute 39:4-53 (Leaving your Engine Running and Unoccupied). The main reason this statute was created was due to the number of stolen vehicles that subsequently were reported. There is an inherent danger presented when a car thief attempts to flee and subsequently operates the vehicle at high speed and individuals can potentially sustain an injury from crashes involving stolen cars. But that’s not all; stolen cars can be used in the commission of other crimes in order to avoid identification. Law Enforcement Officers encountering stolen vehicle(s) may have to engage in a pursuit, putting others and the officer’s lives in danger. To be clear, it remains the responsibility of the owner/operator to turn off their vehicle, lock the doors and take their keys with them. Please help us keep our city streets safe."

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