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Wyckoff-Franklin Lakes Daily Voice serves Franklin Lakes, Oakland & Wyckoff

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Franklin Lakes Officer Injured In Brief Stolen SUV Chase

Franklin Lakes police
Franklin Lakes police Photo Credit: COURTESY: Franklin Lakes PD

A Franklin Lakes police officer wasn't seriously injured in a crash with a stolen SUV during a pre-dawn pursuit Thursday, authorities said.

A Highwoods Drive resident called police just after 2:45 a.m. to report someone trying to break into his vehicle, Capt. John Bakelaar said.

Responding Officer Nicholas Klein spotted a white, undetermined-type vehicle and a black Range Rover traveling together in the area, Bakelaar said.

He tried stopping them, leading to a brief pursuit ended when Klein's cruiser collided with the Range Rover on Colonial Road near Summit Avenue, the captain said.

The Range Rover -- which Bakelaar said had been stolen from another residence on Highwoods Drive -- sustained rear-end damage in the crash.

It and the other vehicle fled the scene, he said.

The officer was treated at The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood for a minor injury and released, Bakelaar said.

SEE: Gone In 30 Seconds (VIDEO): Here's How Car Thieves Steal Unlocked Vehicles In Bergen, Elsewhere

Police everywhere have gone from frustrated to angry that more and more motorists are essentially inviting thieves to steal their vehicles.

Car thieves today simply shop, going from vehicle to vehicle testing door handles.

They ordinarily don't need to work more than a single block before finding an available ride. Then you or your neighbor's wheels are gone.

No police department can be everywhere at all times, which makes some owners' claims that police should prevent such crimes naive, at best.

Figuring the insurance will cover it doesn't take into account how that actually will affect the owner's rates -- especially when his or her carrier discovers the fob was left in an unlocked vehicle.

Equally mistaken is the idea that locks won't make a difference because thieves will try to break in, anyway. Police say they'll simply keep going instead of wasting time.

Anyone who believes that moving to a particular town better-protects them against vehicle thieves is a potential target. The thieves actually prefer nicer neighborhoods specifically because there are trees, fences and other dividers between homes, fewer people are out and around -- and higher-end vehicles will be available.

As statistics and anecdotal evidence show, vehicle after vehicle are stolen from more affluent towns.

Police say drivers elsewhere apparently have the good sense to lock their cars, SUV, trucks and other means of transportation without leaving the fobs inside.

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