NORTH SALEM, N.Y.--New York State Police are investigating a car theft that occurred early last week, while their local counterparts are looking into another trespassing incident involving a vehicle. 

North Salem Police Chief Thomas Howley said a 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee was reported stolen around 7:50 a.m. July 25 from Star Ridge Road in North Salem. A pair of sunglasses was also taken from another unlocked vehicle parked in the driveway.

Public Information Officer for Troop K, Trooper Melissa McMorris, said the incident is still under investigation and an arrest had not been made as of Monday, July 31.

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“We continue to investigate it and remind residents to make sure that they dont leave keys in the vehicle and they lock their vehicles at night,” she said.

McMorris said a series of similar incidents have taken place in North Salem “over the last couple of years.”

Howley remembered the cluster of  incidents, which he said happened about seven months ago in the towns of North Salem and Southeast.

Last week’s second reported incident occurred at about 2:45 p.m. July 26 on Alice Road. A woman woke up to the sound of a car door closing in her driveway, Howley said. She said she looked out her window to see a person rifling through her daughter’s vehicle, which was  parked in the driveway. She reportedly yelled at the person, who she described as a young, white male, who bolted and drove away. Howley said that nothing was taken from the vehicle.

The timing of the incidents could cause speculation that they are related, Howley said, as the previous incidents were, but there is no way to be certain.

“It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen in spurts,” he said. “I believe the last time it was going on, it was people from Connecticut coming over to New York.”

Investigations into those incidents determined that the larcenies were committed by individuals from Waterbury, Conn., Howley said. 

“Just because the last time this happened in town the people came from Waterbury, it doesn’t mean that’s where they’re coming from this time—it could be anywhere.”

The woman who reported the trespassing incident, for instance, told police the person drove away in a grey, four-door sedan with New York license plates. 

“It was definitely a trespass, but did they break into the car? No,” Howley said. “The car was unlocked, and that’s what the problem is. Most of the cars they [perpetrators] go into are unlocked.”

Howley said most offenders are likely to target unlocked cars.

“They don’t want to make a lot of noise to wake people up,” he said.

Howley cautioned residents to not only lock their cars, but to avoid leaving anything that could seem valuable laying in plain sight.

“If people leave valuables in their vehicles that they can spot, then they might break into it if they think it’s worth something,” he said.

If a resident sees such an incident take place, Howley said they should call 911 and turn on their outside lights to get a glimpse of the person and their vehicle to give police a description or license plate number.