Bx Pk East car break-in spree

It’s something of a recurrence in Bronx Park East – broken window glass on the asphalt.

To neighbors, it’s just a sign of yet another car break-in.

“This clearly is a chronic issue in this neighborhood,” said one neighbor, who preferred to just be called Frank.

A local civic group has now put city agencies on alert, requesting extra street lights along Bronx Park, a dimly-lit meadow seen as a refuge for vehicle vandals.

The alert could signal some relief for victims tormented by constant reports of smash-and-grab jobs.

Frank was hit twice, the latest happening early last month between Thwaites and Riese Places during late hours.

“There was blood all over the car, all over the back seats,” recalled Frank the moment he saw his car vandalized. “I had blood on the driver’s side.”

The thief made off with hundreds of dollars in stolen goods, leaving a costlier cleanup job. Sadly, this was nothing new for Frank. In March, his GPS and tools were taken from his car.

Irking him even more was what he said was the lack of empathy from officers in the 49th Precinct, faulting him for unwittingly turning his car into burglarly bait.

“The police officers told me, ‘You shouldn’t leave [your GPS] on the dashboard,’” said Frank. “I said, ‘I left it in the glove compartment.’”

No arrests have been made.

Patterns have been identified throughout this past summer by police. Recently, thieves lifted a laptop off a Verizon work truck.

Patrick Onwu, a three-year resident, had both his BMW and Jeep broken into, with thieves snatching items that included a digital camera.

“The NYPD needs to do something if it’s more than just me,” said Onwu. “That why we pay taxes.”

He proposed a sting operation, setting up bait cars to trap would-be thieves.

The Four-Nine, covering Bronx Park East, Pelham Parkway, Morris Park and Van Nest, has seen a tiny jump in petty larceny, with 705 reported incidents so far this year, compared to 680 the same time in 2012.

The quality-of-life crime drove Raphael Schweizer, chair of the Bronx Park East Community Association, to personally write letters to the city Transportation Department, pressing for more lights at Bronx Park .

“DOT is going to do a study to implement more lighting,” said Schweizer, holding the response letter from DOT stating its Street Lighting Division will examine the request.

Schweizer was able to convince the city Parks Department to prune tree branches blocking existing lights on Bronx Park East.

Cops have regularly reminded drivers to be mindful of where they park, offering a simple solution – leave your things out of sight.

“Just lock it away,” said Four-Nine Crime Prevention Officer Troy Doiley. “Most people don‘t have an alarm on the window, so if they break the window it’s not going to set off the alarm.”

He added with the holidays approaching, vandals will likely target cars for any presents.

“Don’t just drop it into the trunk and think it’s safe,” said Doiley. “You’re telling the thief you have the valuables in the trunk, and all they have to do is break the glass and hit the trunk button.”

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383

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