Greenwich Police issued an update on car thefts this week in hopes to persuade residents to lock their cars.
Captain Mark Zuccerella said there are currently three separate groups that routinely come into Greenwich to steal cars during the overnight hours.
There is no specific location thieves target. The reports of thefts have been throughout town.
There have been over 100 reported thefts of unlocked vehicles with the keys within from Greenwich this year, up from 80 last year.
None of the cars had their keys removed and were locked.
The largest group of thieves are juveniles from other cities in Connecticut.
“We have had success in disrupting their activities, however it is a constant concern,” Zuccerella said. “There are several different groups coming into Town almost every night. They drive into an area of Town, get out, and steal unlocked vehicles with the keys/fob within them.”
The Tri-State area is also being targeted by car theft crews out of New Jersey. Their activity is very similar to the juveniles in that they will respond to a random area of Town and look for high end model SUVs to steal.
The fact the home has a long driveway, is set back off the road, or even has a gate is not a deterrent.
The vehicles they steal all have the keys/fob within.
The last cohort is out of the New York metropolitan area and has been targeting dealerships at night, and in the past the train stations during the day. Again, they only take vehicles with the keys/fob within.
Zuccerella said the police department’s patrol strategy has been partially successful in disrupting thieves’ activity.
“However,” he said. “With the overabundance of unlocked vehicles coupled with the current laws failing to hold juveniles accountable for their acts, the task grows more difficult.”
GPD is urging homeowners to remove their keys/fob and other valuables from their vehicle and lock their car doors, even when parked on their property.
The thieves do not care about property rights, walls, or gates.
If you are a dealership or commercial entity that has vehicles as an inventory or for repair, please lock the keys for the vehicles in a secure area within the building away from any doors that can provide easy access.
If you see or suspect someone is in an area stealing vehicles, do not approach them. Contact 911 immediately.
Last week Greenwich Police announced they will create a lawn sign campaign to encourage people to lock their cars.