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Westchester Sees 60-Percent Spike In Auto Thefts, DA Says

Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpinom, Jr is encouraging Westchester residents to lock up their cars at night. Photo Credit: Westchester County DA
Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpinom, Jr is encouraging Westchester residents to lock up their cars at night. Photo Credit: Westchester County DA

Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino, Jr. has a simple message for area residents: lock up your vehicles at night or risk getting robbed.

There has been a spike in cases of auto thefts in some of Westchester’s wealthiest locales, with some municipalities seeing a rise of up to 2,000 percent over the same time period a year ago.

According to Scarpino, every municipality in Westchester has reported at least one stolen vehicle and sticky-fingered thieves have made a practice of entering cars overnight that are left unlocked.

The overall year-over-year increase in the county has hit 60 percent compared to stats through September last year.

“We reminded residents earlier in the summer and we are doing it again. The numbers are staggering,” Scarpino said. “As auto thefts and grab-and-go crimes continue to plague the county along with the pandemic, I urge residents to be careful to lock their vehicles. These are crimes of opportunity,”

Rye (23), Scarsdale (21), Harrison (19), North Castle, and Greenburgh (15 each), have seen the most vehicles stolen from their jurisdictions.

Scarsdale (2,000 percent), Rye Brook (1,200 percent), Sleepy Hollow (700 percent), Mamaroneck (600 percent), and Irvington (400 percent), have seen the largest jumps in vehicles stolen compared to a year ago.

“While we do know of groups of professional thieves from New Jersey stealing luxury

vehicles and exporting them for the overseas black market, a majority of thefts in the suburbs are carried out mostly by teens and young people from Connecticut’s urban areas who are coming into Westchester, stealing cars which are left unlocked and with a fob/key left in the car,” Scarpino added.

“The theft is bad enough, but these vehicles are being used to commit other crimes and endangering the lives of others,” the DA continued. “Some have been involved in police pursuits resulting in accidents. If you leave your car unlocked, you are helping criminals and putting others in danger.”

According to Scarpino’s Office, to avoid having your vehicle stolen or rummaged through, one should:

  • Never leave a key or key fob in the car;
  • Never leave a car running unattended;
  • Never keep a garage door opener in a car that is not parked in a locked garage;
  • Always lock car doors;
  • Always remove or hide all valuables;
  • Always activate an alarm if available;
  • Always close car windows;
  • Always park in a well-lit area when possible.

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