49th Precinct warns of thefts of older cars

Thieves are targeting older cars in the 49th Precinct, and the captain wants the public to be careful to secure their vehicles.

Captain Kevin Nicholson noticed the spike in grand larceny auto thefts of cars with model years ranging from the late 1980s to late 1990s. The most popular models eyed by thieves are the Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Plymouth Voyager, and Toyota Camry. Since Friday, December 10, 11 have been stolen in the 49th Precinct, crime prevention officer Troy Doiley said.

Among the cars taken were a 1989 Toyota Camry and a 1994 Honda Accord. Owners of older cars should take steps to secure their vehicles because their car’s parts may be worth far more than the cars themselves. Tow trucks may be involved in the thefts, Doiley said.

“They might want to use the cars for parts, which can be valuable,” Doiley said. “We want to alert the public that there may be tow trucks involved in these thefts. If anyone sees a tow truck picking up a car that has not been involved in an accident or is being towed for no obvious reason, they should call the police right away.”

The 49th Precinct will be offering Vehicle Identification Number etching beginning on Tuesday, December 28, running throughout the entire month of January 2011. The etching program is offered free of charge. A vehicle’s unique VIN is etched into the car’s auto glass to allow for easy identification of stolen parts. The program is offered free of charge every Tuesday and Thursday, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. No appointment is necessary, and cars and light trucks may be brought to the precinct for a timely procedure.

Cars should’nt be parked on streets where there is not sufficient lighting, as this may a welcome invitation for thieves, Doiley said.

“We would like to advise the public not to park the cars on streets where there is very low lighting,” Doiley stated.“Motorists can secure their cars by installing a tilt sensor alarm, which will go off when the car is towed. They can also install a cut off switch, so if a thief tries to jump start the car, it will not start.”

Joe Thompson, 49th Precinct Community Council president, said, “People oftentimes don’t put security locks and devices on older cars because they don’t believe anyone will steal them,” Thompson said. “We have people leaving their keys inside of cars and starting their cars and then going back into their homes while the car warms up. People cannot do this. These cars were also not built with the sophisticated anti-theft devices found on new cars today.”

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