Friday, October 22, 2010

Forget the New Cars, Thieves also Targeting Older Vehicles as Thefts are Up by Lisa L. Colangelo - NY Daily News

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When car thieves prowl the streets of Queens, they aren't just looking for shiny sports cars.
They are also targeting work vans and broken down sedans that sit in driveways, police officials said Tuesday.
"Forty percent of stolen cars citywide are older vehicles," said Assistant Chief James Secreto, commander of Patrol Borough Queens South.
"They are easier to steal," Secreto told Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and community board district managers yesterday during a meeting at Borough Hall. "They are heavier when they take them to the [scrap] yards to crush them and get top dollar."
Recent statistics show that vehicle thefts are up more than 14% in southern Queens precincts and 9% in northern Queens during the first nine months of this year compared with the same period last year.
Assistant Chief Diana Pizutti, commander of Patrol Borough Queens North who attended the meeting, conceded that grand larceny auto is "rearing its ugly head again."
In 1990, more than 50,000 grand larceny auto thefts were reported in the borough. Last year, the number was closer to 3,300.
Secreto said many of the thefts are taking place in the 105th Precinct, which includes Queens Village, Cambria Heights and Springfield Gardens, as well as the 106th Precinct in Ozone Park.
One of the popular targets has been Ford Econoline vans, he said, because of its weight.
Two weeks ago, cops nabbed a 24-year-old man suspected of stealing more than two dozen vans in Queens and Brooklyn and selling them to a Long Island scrap yard.
"Stolen car arrests are up 78%," he said. "We're making a lot of arrests and doing some initiatives."
That includes tracking bogus vehicle ownership paperwork used at scrap yards.
Even battered cars parked for months in driveways aren't safe, they said.
Disabled vehicles - even those tagged by the Sanitation Department for removal - have been stolen by people using tow trucks, Secreto said.