Car burglaries and thefts continued to increase at a dizzying rate in Pascack Valley over the weekend.
Several cars were ransacked on Ackerman Avenue, Repetti Street and Dogwood Road in Westwood, authorities said.
Meanwhile, a 2018 Dodge Durango with Rhode Island license plates was stolen out of Emerson and late tracked on GPS to Newark.
The Bergen County Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Identification collected evidence.
Meanwhile, police once again urged motorists to lock their cars and take their key fobs – and either remove all valuables or hide them.
No windows are broken or locks jimmied by today's car bandits -- there's no need. With today's anti-theft devices, a locked car is ignored.
Home surveillance video from several towns have shown thieves testing car-door handles, then running from the locked vehicles to the next driveway.
Sometimes the thieves don't have to test the door handle. They can simply check whether the side-view mirror is folded in (car is locked) or not.
It happens in Fairfield and Westchester counties, among other places, for sure. But, locally, the thieves have become very fond of Bergen County -- from Alpine and Tenafly to Pascack Valley to Upper Saddle River and Wyckoff. That's because so many area car owners make it so easy for them.
The thieves come up from Essex, Passaic or Union counties and run through a block or two of driveways (if that many) until they find an easy mark. Then they roar off down the Garden State Parkway in the stolen vehicle.
Some vehicles eventually are found, all valuables gone, in Newark and other points south.
Some only make it to another town, where thieves swap them out for something better.
Others are shipped out of state or the country (Baltimore has become a popular port destination for shipping overseas).
There have been several police chases lately. Some were terminated out of concern for public safety. Some have ended in crashes, including:
It was one of several stolen car chases out of Pascack Valley in less than a week, two of which ended with thieves crashing and bailing out in Paterson and another that was broken off on the Garden State Parkway out of concern for public safety.
Several other vehicles have recently been reported stolen from Pascack Valley towns, including two out of Hillsdale a week ago Saturday.
Just about all involving unlocked vehicles, many with the key fobs left inside, police say.
“There’s a reason why it’s called a crime of opportunity,” Hillsdale Police Capt. Sean Smith said. “Don’t give them the opportunity.
"Please double check and make sure that you and your family members are removing key fobs from the vehicles and locking their cars.”
Exterior lighting and obvious home surveillance systems also help keep thieves away, police say.
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