Car burglaries in Gun Hill mall parking lots

Car burglaries in Gun Hill mall parking lots
The parking lot located at 1816-1850 E. Gun Hill Road, where the three break-ins occurred.
Community News Group / Steven Goodstein

A grand larceny crime wave has surfaced in a Gun Hill Road parking lot – and the 49th Precinct is on the case.

According to the precinct, there have been at least three recent instances involving automobile break-ins within the Chuck E. Cheese’s and Home Depot parking lot, located at 1816-1850 E. Gun Hill Road, which is being called Grand Larceny Pattern #17.

Each incident occurred on Tuesday, February 14, between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. by an unknown suspect, who broke into each vehicle to remove property.

All three incidents also involved vehicles that belonged to females between the ages of 26 and 41.

Each victim stated to the precinct that they were in Chuck E. Cheese’s for about one hour the night the break-in occurred.

“This is a very difficult kind of crime to combat, as it is a crime which usually occurs very quickly,” said 49th Precinct community affairs officer and detective Jay Sturdivant, who added that car break-ins have been a reoccurring issue in the 49th Precinct. “When you have a weak-minded person who is also addicted to drugs walking past a car which holds valuables such as money, computers, pocketbooks and/or jewelry, there is a recipe for a criminal act to occur.”

According to the 4-9, the best weapon against these types of crimes is an ‘alert and informed community’ who contacts them upon seeing any sort of suspicious activity.

Sturdivant, along with the rest of the 49th Precinct, are currently analyzing the crimes and mapping out locations of these occurrences so they can properly deploy plain clothes units at these specific sites, so they are prepared to make arrests at the time of the next incident.

This plan proved to be successful after the 49th Precinct apprehended another perpetrator who was wanted for numerous car break-ins in vicinity of Bronx Park East earlier this year.

The 49th Precinct also recently arrested several individuals who knowingly purchased stolen property within the precinct’s confines.

In addition, Sturdivant speaks with District Attorney Darcel Clark regularly to lobby for stiffer sentencing in these cases in hopes to deter others from committing the same crime.

“There is no worse feeling than entering your car in the morning and discovering your window is broken with all of your valuables taken, other than having your car stolen,” Sturdivant said. “We will continue educating the public by way of social media, informational flyers and through crime prevention lectures at (our) community meetings in hopes of lowering someone’s chance of being victimized.”

The 49th Precinct did not release a description, picture or report of the wanted suspect.

The video camera surveilling the parking lot did not capture any of the incidents that took place that evening.

Along with the car burglaries, there have also been reports of merchandise being stolen from the locker room of Planet Fitness, located in the neighboring parking lot at 1750-1780 E. Gun Hill Road, which also includes Dunkin Donuts, Petco, TGI Fridays and Dollar Tree, among other stores. It is still unknown if these incidents are connected to the car burglaries.

Since these incidents occurred, Elite Investigations, a New York City-based private investigation company, has been seen surveilling the strip mall’s parking lots.

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