Police and community leaders in the Throggs Neck area are on alert for a spike in thieves stealing car tires and contents from unlocked vehicles.
In what has become part of a national trend, the tires on late model Hondas seem to be the prime targets.
The recent rash of the thefts have been reported by residents in the Country Club and Waterbury-LaSalle areas.
Members of the Waterbury-LaSalle Community Association are also experiencing a rash of break-ins where a thief or thieves appear to be targeting cars along Baisley and along Crosby Avenues, among other blocks, said WLCA board member Andrew Chirico.
He said they try car door handles to see if the cars parked on the street and in driveways are unlocked.
“It is happening around the neighborhood and it is certainly happening on this block,” said Chirico, of Baisley Avenue.
“There are people roaming around – I am assuming late at night – lifting the handles on car doors. No one has seen them, but first thing in the morning you go to the car and it is all upset, and if there was anything of value inside, they probably took it.”
He is urged car owners to remember to lock their doors and remain vigilant.
“If everybody watches out, we help each other.”
He said the local precinct encourages people to call 911, “even if it is a small incident, because this is the only way that they can track what is going on. If there are enough legitimate incidents, we may get a few extra cops out of it.”
Chirico added that last week, two tires were stolen overnight from a car near Louie and Ernies Pizza on Crosby and Waterbury avenues. The same thing happened in Country Club to resident Eileen O’Neill of Rawlins Avenue around Thanksgiving, Nov. 29.
A tire was removed from her late model Honda after she parked it on n front of her home. She said she first noticed it on Friday, Nov. 30.
“I turned on the ignition and heard a screeching sound and a tearing sound,” said O’Neill. “I got out and looked. One of the wheels was siting on a brick. I didn’t notice the wheel was missing before that because it was dark.”
O’Neill added that earlier in the same week, someone had loosened five of the lug nuts on one of her tires, and she did not notice it until she was driving on the interstate.
Chirico said he believes that Hondas are being targeted because the wheels have not changed in the past 15 years or so.
According to 45th Precinct Captain James McGeown, during the week ending Monday, Nov. 26, there were seven incidents in the precinct that involved one to four tires being stolen. Among those seven, four involved 2012 Hondas, with two others also being Hondas, he stated.
“I am aware of this recent spike in thefts and we are deploying resources as necessary in the affected areas,” he stated.
Police advise that car owners use wheel locks, devices that replaces one lug nut on each tire and are key-operated. Special locking devices are available for certain hub caps such as the spoked hubs.
With Bob Kappstatter
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 742-3393