State Police are asking for the public’s help as they try to curb a recent spike in car thefts and vehicle break-ins in the Lower Hudson Valley.
Since March 1, they and local police have investigated more than 400 stolen vehicles cases in Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess and Rockland counties.
According to State Police, numerous arrests have been made and many of the cars—although damaged—have been recovered.
But, they said, like flattening the coronavirus curve, there are ways to nip car thefts in the bud.
Police are begging owners to lock their vehicles and to never, ever leave the keys or key fobs inside—“the most common factor shared among these cases,” they said.
“Many of the vehicles stolen have been from affluent neighborhoods. Please do not assume this will not happen where you live,” the Troop K release added.
It also goes without saying that valuables should not be left inside cars. Police also advise owners to close their vehicle’s windows and, when possible, park in well-lighted, conspicuous areas.
Multiple cars have been stolen or broken into in North Salem, Lewisboro and Somers in recent months. Mahopac in Putnam County was hit with a string of car break-ins and a car theft in the Lake Casse area in early June.
And on Monday, July 13, State Police from the Somers barracks, partnering with Pleasantville and New Castle police, arrested an 18-year-old male after he allegedly stole a car and led authorities in a chase that caused two collisions.
Around 1:15 a.m. that morning, troopers had tried to stop a 2010 Audi A4 on Interstate 684 for a traffic violation in Lewisboro. The driver fled south on the highway, exiting at Route 22.
According to police, he tried to make a left-hand turn and ran into a State Police car.
He continued south after the collision—in the northbound lane—causing the troopers to halt their pursuit.
Seconds later, the same car sped north in the southbound lanes. Troopers were forced to “take evasive action” to avoid another collision.
Pleasantville police, who had been monitoring the chase, spotted the suspect and went after him.
Once in the Chappaqua area, the teen lost control and struck a utility pole. Arrested by New Castle police, he was arraigned virtually in North Castle Town Court and released without bail. He is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday, Aug. 4.
He was charged with third-degree Criminal Possession of Stolen Property, a Class D felony; second-degree Reckless Endangerment; and third-degree Fleeing an Officer in a motor vehicle, both Class A misdemeanors.
After he was arraigned, the teen was taken by EMTs from the Somers Fire Department to Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco for medical evaluation.