Thieves Steal 4 Idling Cars In 25 Minutes In N.J.

HILLSIDE, N.J. (CBS 2/1010 WINS) — It only takes a few seconds – start the car, go back inside, and before you know it, you’re car is gone.

A fast-moving gang of thieves pulled off the simple heist four times Friday morning, and all within a matter of minutes. Now, victims are putting out the warning about the idling danger.

It’s a common practice in cold weather – turning the car on to warm it up, often leaving it briefly unattended with the keys inside.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Kathleen Maloney reports

Shelton Gibbs was warming up his car at 7 a.m. Friday, while taking out the trash when it happened to him.

“Then I went back into the house to get the garbage and, that quick, they took off,” Gibbs said.

Gibbs’ car was one of four taken in Hillside in the span of just 25 minutes. Another was stolen from the driveway of a home on Winans Avenue.

“Nobody, no police, no patrols, but if you go to Maplewood or somewhere else, they make sure it doesn’t happen,” resident Sharon Moore said.

“Under these circumstances, I guess we’re going to have to be a little bit more careful,” resident Vernon Underwood said. “We kind of take things for granted.”

In two of the car thefts, the victims saw it happening and ran after the thief – not just for the car, but for their house keys inside.

“Somebody just hopped in and drove away,” resident Shellyce Gibbs said. “Just got in the car and drove off.”

Gibbs said it was her father’s car. It was found hours later, but the ignition had to be re-keyed.

“It’s sad because it feels like a violation. I just feel like we’ve been violated,” she said.

Insurance agents like Jesse Branson said long car warm-ups are unnecessary.

“Today’s cars, because they are modern and have new technology in them, you only need the car running a few minutes,” Branson said.

Hillside police said they’re actively tracking the thefts, but they also have a word of advice for residents.

“Leaving your car idling in this part is a little…discouraged,” Hillside Police Lt. Louis Ruffino said.

Has this happened to you? Tell us about it in the comments section below!


One Comment

  1. Crisp Kringle says:

    I’d hire a mexican to stand outside with a shotgun to watch over my idling car,

  2. Bill Hamm says:

    You would think a command of the language would be a requirement for a reporter, I guess not anymore.

  3. ezflyer13 says:

    “Nobody, no police, no patrols, but if you go to Maplewood or somewhere else, they make sure it doesn’t happen,” resident Sharon Moore said.

    Funny how one of the residents makes this kind of statement blaming the police for the lack of interaction to stop these car thieved from stealing cars with the keys in the ignition, instead of blaming the drivers for their lack of intelligence. Always pointing fingers at others when we all know what the problem is. I feel no pity for anyone that this happens to as it can be prevented. Wonder how many times this resident made the same error only to be lucky enough that it did not happen to her. If you have nothing of value to say, stay quiet and do not make yourself look so minimal in brain activity.

    1. MLS says:

      You should take your own advice!

  4. crosscheck says:

    Hire a driver, solve a problem

  5. Paddy says:

    Always have a spare key with such that when you walk out of your car you lock it from out side. I always do that here IN Africa coz It’s hot that you don’t wanna enter the car when that hot. I just let my engine running with the air-con on. It works magic.

  6. bayi says:

    In Kuala Lumpur, where I live, thieves have made off with cars that stop at gas stations to fill up. The drivers were careless in leaving the key in the ignition while they pay for the gas.

  7. Duffy says:

    At least here in Africa nobody wuoul ddare steal your elephant as he would be trampled to death.How about a visible deterrent–like a king cobra snake on the steering wheel

  8. Thats me says:

    How about a spare set of keys? If they break the window so what, its winter.
    Hey, isnt NJ one of these states that hate guns? So you work and pay insurance just to let some dirtbag trash your car, and you get shafted by the insurance company?
    .60 cents spent on a well placed bullet leaves one dirtbag dead, and your car getting warm. Call the cops, sign a affidavit and off to work.
    I forget… you are so close to the NY liberals you forgot how to defend yourselves.

    1. Abigayle says:

      You are correct but I am a a new yorker who believes in guns. People are just careless… thats all.I agree with Paddy’s comment also.

    2. Billy the Kid says:

      I agree with you 100%, but being law enforcement in NJ if I would do that and that thief ran off the road and hit and killed someone because I shot him, I would be held responsible for that 3rd persons death, even if I was on duty!!

      1. Billy the Kid says:

        This is why I work in NJ (for the money) and live in PA for the freedom (open carry law)

    3. MLS says:

      You are right. These liberal states are pathetic. I live in NYC and it funny to hear Mike ” Jiminy Cricket” Bloomberg state that guns should be abolished. It’s bad enough that obama is in the White House; imagine King Bloomberg!

  9. Preston says:

    Not to sound like “Let them eat cake” but Ford and Lincoln owners have a drivers door touch pad 2 lock and unlock doors, rear hatch or trunk. Sure have loved it in Houston this Feb.

  10. john says:

    Get a remote starter your car can’t be stolen this way !

  11. It. Is. Reality says:


  12. CR says:

    “Today’s cars, because they are modern and have new technology in them, you only need the car running a few minutes,” Branson said.

    It’s not for the sake of the car. It’s to warm up the interior.

    1. Lester Krinklesac says:

      True enough. My car does not have one of them fancy bun warmers built in!

    2. John B says:

      And the transmission and CV joints are butt cold as most imbeciles floor the thing right after they started it. The heat from the block transfers to the transmission case and all the way out to the CV joints. It takes at least 20 minutes for the entire car to reach close to normal tolerances OLD or NEW.

    3. John C says:

      Cars with remote start dont require the keys in them but some ordinances require owners to be with the cars if they are running. another thing if memory serves is you cant idle a car while parked in NYC. But if a car is running on remote start the engine will quit if the car is pulled out of park,brake pedal pushed unless you insert the key first

  13. Junta says:

    people should not steal cars. it is not nice😦

  14. Willt says:

    you’re car is gone … YOUR car is gone.

    1. Yankee fan says:

      Thank you, Willt – that was the first thing I noticed when I read this article!

  15. 01608 says:


    1. It's happened to me..NEWARK says:

      You know why it’s stupid ?……nine times outta ten they’re, young, dumb and don’t know how to drive.
      Hopefully for the victims who pay full coverage will be jacked by someone who perhaps slams into a tree and kills themselves.
      All these punks need to get a better life, it’s sad.

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