It’s a bad time to drive a Honda in the northeast Bronx.
Residents of Throggs Neck, Country Club and nearby neighborhoods have been reporting a string of incidents in which cars, mainly Hondas, are being stripped of their wheels and rims during overnight hours and car owners are waking up to find their cars supported by cinderblocks.
Law enforcement, residents and local politicians have all caught on to the trend after the 45th Precinct reported 11 cars stripped, all Hondas, and the 49th Precinct reporting one Chevy Camaro that has been altered.
“The thefts are not concentrated in any one area of the precinct,” said 49th Precinct crime prevention Officer Troy Doiley. “People should park in well-lit areas. They can put an alarm on their car with a tilt sensor that will go off if someone tries to tow the car.”
John Korres, a resident of Country Club, woke up on the morning of Wednesday, March 2 only to find that his two front wheels had been stolen, while the same thing happened to his neighbor.
“We were literally both up on jacks,” Korres said. “My car is still getting fitted for new wheels and I’m afraid to bring it back home.”
Korres suggested that the thefts were part of an operation that sold the items back to unknowing repair shops, who then sold the rims and wheels back to the victims turned customers.
“I think the guy who tows your car is involved in some way weather he knows it or not,” he said. “There is something they sell called a refurbished wheel. How can there be a refurbished wheel for a new car that just came out? When they told me you can get refurbished rims for your car, that really threw me a curveball. In the old days they would steal something and take it to a tire shop, but now it seems more organized.”
Councilman Jimmy Vacca has been following the incidents. He is not yet sure if the operation runs the way Korres suggests.
“People have spoken to be about that,” Vacca said. “I don’t know if it’s true. There’s no way of knowing. Traditionally what happens in this operation is a van goes out finds the car and loosens the wheel nuts, then a second car arrives later and takes the wheels off. It is an epidemic on quiet streets. It’s just a terrible feeling to have this happening to you. I tell people to be on the lookout, have your alarm and whatever you see, report.”