WESTFIELD, NJ — Thieves made off with three unlocked vehicles over the weekend, police said Monday. Burglars also entered at least five additional vehicles in that time, police records show.
The thefts happened early Sunday morning on Thomas Court, Rodger Avenue and Bradford Avenue, police said. “All three vehicles were unlocked,” police said in an alert to the neighborhoods. “And all had either keys or a key fob inside.”
Security footage obtained by police shows a suspected thief pulling the door handle of a white SUV and then running off. In the video, the person's face is covered by a ski mask. The person seen in the video posted to Ring.com and dated early Sunday morning is wearing black pants and a dark green top with long sleeves.
Three vehicles waiting in the street speed away shortly after the suspected thief runs in their direction.
While thieves stole just three vehicles, a burglar or burglar crept into at least five additional vehicles Saturday night into Sunday morning, police records show. The burglar, or burglars, entered two unlocked vehicles parked on Eton Place, another parked on Roger Avenue and two vehicles located on Scudder Road, the records show.
In one of the incidents on Scudder Road, police reports said, the suspect or suspects made off with $20. It was not immediately known if any items were taken from the other vehicles, the reports said.
Crimes involving unlocked cars have become a common occurrence in areas including Westfield, Cranford and Summit, among others, Union County Police Chief Chris Debbie told TAPinto Westfield recently.
“What we have a daily difficulty with is the residents that do leave their key fobs in their cars, to begin with, and leave their car doors [unlocked],” Debbie said. “As I’m sure you’re aware, curbing that is the first step toward curtailing this issue that every municipality is dealing with.”
Asked about technology that could track the location of key fobs, Debbie said, “I’m sure it does exist.”
Westfield, a municipality for which the most recent American Community Survey Census data available put the median household income at $159,923, has seen its share of thefts of and from unlocked motor vehicles.
On Aug. 13, the theft of a van left unlocked in Westfield prompted a police chase in Union Township, where officers arrested three teenagers in connection with the incident.
In June, a thief made off with one vehicle from Wychwood Road and a burglar or burglars entered three vehicles on Canterbury Lane.
In May, Westfield residents saw a slew of car break-ins, including at least five in which the burglar or burglars broke into unlocked vehicles, according to police.
The Westfield Police have warned the public to lock up. They do so every night.
Last October, Westfield Police began participation in a national campaign, called #9pm Routine, warning the public through social media alerts to lock up by 9 p.m.
Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at email@example.com; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh