DENVILLE, NJ -- As the coronavirus causes growing fears, another threat is hitting Morris County. The Morris County Sheriff’s Office, Morris County Police Chiefs’ Association, Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and New Jersey State Police Auto Theft Task Force, in coordination with various law enforcement agencies, have convened an auto theft task force designed to stop a persistent trend in car thefts and car burglaries in Morris County.

According to a press release by Morris County Sheriff's Office and the Morris County Prosecutor's Office on March 12, in a recent three-day period alone in Morris County, six vehicles were stolen in Madison, Mountain Lakes, Montville, Mount Olive and Roxbury, including two that were taken in afternoon daylight.

Also, according to the press release, in 2019 in Morris County, 215 vehicles were stolen and another 233 vehicles were burglarized, while in 2018, 227 vehicles were stolen in Morris County and another 231 vehicles were burglarized, with valuables removed, but the vehicles were not removed from the premises.

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For the Denville Police Department, the focus on car theft is a priority. Fortunately, so far this year, there has not been a report of a motor vehicle burglary or stolen motor vehicle in Denville Township.

“Last year, we had two reported attempts (nothing stolen) and 12 reported motor vehicle burglaries,” said Denville Captain Jeffrey Tucker.

“In each case, the motor vehicles were either left unlocked or believed to have been left unlocked (no signs of forced entry). One arrest was made that solved five of the motor vehicle burglaries. We had an additional four thefts from work trailers; all that involved forced entry. One of these resulted in an arrest.”

“Last year, we had reports of four stolen motor vehicles. Four arrests were made, solving two of the cases and three of the four motor vehicles were recovered. In each case, the vehicles were left unlocked with the keys left inside them.”

At this time, the Denville Township Police Department does not have a liaison with the newly established Morris County Auto Theft Task Force.

“Outside of increased patrols of our residential areas to deter thefts, we have also used social media to make the public more aware not to leave their vehicle’s unlocked and to hide/remove valuables,” said Captain Tucker.

“One of the tools we have used for this is the #9PMRoutine. We have sent out several messages the last few years requesting residents to set an alarm that will remind them each night to make sure their cars are locked and valuables out of sight.”

According to the same press release, high-end makes and models, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Range Rover, Porsche, Audi and Ford pick-up trucks, are most commonly targeted, generally in communities close to highways, including Routes 80, 287, 46 and 24. Seventy-five percent of all vehicles have been recovered, but become damaged, according to the press release.

Car owners are asked to lock their vehicles, to never leave a key fob in a vehicle, watch out for their own neighbors, report suspicious activity or people and call 9-1-1 to report any crimes.

The Morris County Auto Theft Task Force can be contacted at 973-285-6300 or after hours at 973-285-2900.

 

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