A rash of car thefts and break-ins in the area have law enforcement and local officials—again—warning residents to remember to lock up their vehicles, remove their keys and to never ever leave valuables in plain sight.
According to North Salem police Sgt. Michael Castellano, three cars were stolen in the wee hours of Thursday, June 11—two from Titicus Road and the third from Hawley Road. Two were found abandoned and recovered, but the third was still AWOL last week.
The situation is anything but normal, Castellano said, adding that the town usually only sees an uptick in car break-ins once or twice a year.
North Salem Police Chief Thomas Howley said that another car had been reported stolen from Titicus Road on Wednesday, June 3.
Somers Supervisor Warren J. Lucas posted the following on social media:
“Three cars were stolen again in North Salem last week. The last car at 5:30 a.m. The MO (modus operandi) is all the same. The cars all had their keys in the car.
One of the cars was recovered in Lewisboro where it was left by the thieves after they stole another car.
These are all young teenagers stealing cars. They love hitting North Salem because we apparently all leave our cars unlocked and our keys in the car. Please DO NOT leave your keys in the car.”
Somers Police Chief Michael Driscoll reports that thieves made off with two cars last week, one from Route 100 and the other from Moseman Avenue.
In both cases, the keys were left in the car, he said, saying the thefts were obviously “a crime of opportunity.”
He said he’d heard that an arrest had been made after one of the cars was involved in an accident on the Saw Mill River Parkway, which is patrolled by the Westchester County Police. The Somers Record reached out to the agency, but that scenario could not be confirmed Thursday, June 11.
A number of Somers residents last week reported that the contents of their cars appeared to have been rummaged through, Driscoll said.
While car owners may think it’s safe to leave their vehicles unlocked while they pop into the post office or gas station, it’s not, not even during the day, Driscoll said.
Somers Supervisor Rick Morrissey issued a “Red Alert” urging residents to “be mindful to lock your car doors at night and remove any visible valuables.” He urged residents to report any suspicious activity to the police by calling 914-277-3651.
Keeping a motion-sensitive light on all night, Morrissey said, “is also an effective measure.” The thefts appear to be occurring most often in the early morning hours, just before dawn.
Using home security devices such as a doorbell with a camera also may help authorities identify and track down the perpetrators, but they’re not preventative.
“Don’t make yourself a victim by not locking your car,” Morrissey said at the Town Board’s meeting on Zoom on Thursday, June 11.
Police in nearby towns also advised people to be suspicious if they see someone driving down their road with the headlights off. It could be kids just messing around, or it could be thieves scouting the area for easy targets, they said.
Don’t be embarrassed about notifying police about any unusual behavior in the neighborhood. Better to be safe than sorry.
Said Lewisboro Police Chief David Alfano: “We just wish people would listen and lock their cars.”
Stolen vehicles have been turning up in the Connecticut cities of Bridgeport and Waterbury, where they were likely used in other crimes before being left on the street, according to Alfano.
In Putnam County, Carmel Police Chief Mike Cazzari reported that there had been a series of thefts last week, including one of a car in the Lake Casse section of the hamlet of Mahopac.
A credit card and other valuables were stolen from six unlocked cars parked in driveways, Cazzari said.
Thieves also hit the Austin Road area and other Mahopac neighborhoods, as well.
Kent and Patterson in Putnam County and Pawling, Fishkill and Wappinger in Dutchess County have also reported an uptick in these types of crimes.
Cazzari said he didn’t think these kinds of crimes were necessarily new to Mahopac, citing a car stolen from Dahlia Drive in 2019 that was recovered in Waterbury, Conn.
He said he believed that it’s the work of a team of thieves, perhaps from nearby Danbury, Conn., that uses the proceeds from their ill-gotten gains to buy drugs in Watertown, Conn.
“It seems to be the place to go purchase the drugs. We’ve been catching them doing that for as far back as I can remember,” Cazzari told Mahopac News recently.
“It is definitely more than one person,” he added.
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