BY EMILY JOHNSON
OF PASCACK PRESS
PASCACK VALLEY – A recent rash of car break-ins and multiple car thefts have left local police on high alert as they put out warnings to their communities to keep their cars locked and to keep valuables out of sight.
Police report that video surveillance from the residence captured the incident, revealing that a sport utility vehicle pulled up to the house, backed into the driveway and turned off the headlights. Three individuals exited the SUV and ran to another car in the driveway, police reported. One of them, with the hood of his gray sweatshirt pulled up over his head, then made his way to the Infiniti, and started up the car. The other two ran back to their SUV, and both vehicles left the premises.
The suspects remain at large, but Shine said the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and the state police continue to investigate these crimes, while local departments are assisting as they can.
Other Old Tappan residents made reports that items were stolen from their cars in the midnight hours, police said in a statement.
“This activity is occurring throughout north Jersey,” Shine said.
“In many of these cases, the keys or key fob for the car has been left inside the unlocked car or
within close proximity to the vehicle,” Shine said in a statement. “The suspects enter the unlocked car and drive away using the keys provided for them.”
Shine went on to remind residents to remove keys from the car when not in use.
A car theft also took place the same night in River Vale, River Vale Police Detective Sgt. John DeVoe told Pascack Press.
On March 3 at 10:30 a.m., a Piermont Avenue resident called police headquarters reporting his vehicle had been stolen. It had last been seen at 9 p.m. the night prior, the resident told police.
The car, a white 2015 Porsche Macan, had not been located at press time, and the theft remains under investigation. The owner confirmed the key fob was left in the car. River Vale police issued an alert to residents about the ongoing issue.
Not far away, Mahwah Police put out an alert that a white 2016 Mercedes-Benz S550, a car valued at around $95,000 by Kelley Blue Book, was stolen from a resident’s driveway earlier on Feb. 23. The car has not yet been recovered, Mahwah Police confirmed.
Ostrow advises residents to leave personal and valuable items inside the home, and out of plain sight.
“As safe as our areas are, any location is susceptible to this type of crime,” Ostrow said.
Emerson and Norwood police put out an alert through Nixle following these incidents, which advises residents to bring keys inside and lock cars.
Montvale has also been a victim to car break-ins, with three having occurred at a gym parking lot on Feb. 21, according to Montvale police reports.
The vehicles were a 2015 Jeep and BMW, and a 2016 Mercedes-Benz. Windows were punched out, and from each vehicle, personal and financial information was taken including wallets and purses. One of the vehicle owners had cash, jewelry and other items stolen, valued at $3,650.
“Those break-ins appear to be the work of professionals,” Montvale Police Chief Jeremy Abrams said in an interview.
“People are leaving the wallet or the pocketbook or the laptop in plain sight,” Abrams said. “If you have to have those items in the car, put them in the trunk or the glove box.
“A big part of it is not making yourself a target. The thieves are going to go to the target of best opportunity, and if there’s something in view, that’s the best opportunity,” said Abrams.
He said even putting items under a jacket is not enough, as it may raise the suspicions of a predator as to what may be underneath.
Abrams told Northern Valley Press that more recently, car burglaries took place on March 6 in residents’ driveways - one on High Ridge Road and the other on Surrey Lane.
Abrams said both cars were unlocked, and that wallets, cash and personal items were stolen.
Abrams also said Montvale detectives are working in conjunction with the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office to identify the culprits.
Anyone with more information on any of these incidents is encouraged to immediately contact local police.