MAHOPAC, N.Y. - Carmel police are investigating a series of larcenies that took place in several Mahopac neighborhoods in the early morning hours of Thursday, June 4, including a stolen car.

Chief Mike Cazzari said that the car was stolen from the Lake Casse area where thieves also stole money, a credit card, and other items from at least six unlocked cars parked in driveways. Similar thefts took place in the Austin Road area and some other Mahopac neighborhoods as well.

“They look for unlocked cars and steal valuables,” Cazzari said. “It’s a crime of opportunity.”

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Similar crimes were reported in neighboring communities, the chief said, including Kent, Patterson, and Pawling. North Salem police also reported a car theft in that community. Posters on Facebook said it was also happening in other Dutchess County towns, including Fishkill and Wappinger.

Cazzari said the crimes are not new to Mahopac. A car was stolen in the Dahlia Drive area in June 2019 and was eventually tracked down in Waterbury, Conn., and he believes it’s connected to the recent thefts. He said when the pandemic arrived, the crimes seemed to wane, but have since picked up traction again.

The chief said he believes it is a team of thieves working in concert, perhaps from nearby Danbury, who use the ill-gotten loot to buy illicit drugs in Watertown.

“It seems to be the place to go to purchase the drugs. We’ve been catching them doing that for as far back as I can remember,” he said.  “It is definitely more than one person. But you have to hit a lot of cars to get enough money to buy whatever it is you want.”

Cazzari said the investigation is ongoing, and no arrests have been made yet. And he had one bit of advice for homeowners.

“It is not a good idea to leave your keys in your car,” he said. “Lock your car. These are crimes of opportunity.”

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