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Gang Of Thieves Ransacking Cars In Upscale N.J. Communities

Cops: Lock Doors; Leave Nothing Valuable, Including Garage Openers, Inside
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N.J. car thieves

The lock on one West Orange resident’s car was damaged after some thieves struck in broad daylight earlier this month. (Photo: CBS 2)

Christine Sloan thumbnail Christine Sloan
Emmy-award winning journalist Christine Sloan joined CBS 2 News in...
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ROSELAND, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Some brazen thieves are hitting dozens of affluent Essex County towns and stealing valuable items from cars.

CBS 2’s Christine Sloan saw a video that showed that not even daylight stopped some brazen crooks from breaking into a car parked in a driveway with people at home. The West Orange homeowner literally caught some suspects in the act.

Barry Geltzeiler’s car was broken into during broad daylight, but what the two suspects who went about ransacking his car in the driveway of his home didn’t realize was that surveillance video cameras were capturing their every move.

“In the video you see how he was moving with the screwdriver and he got the windows to go down and he reached in and opened the door,” Geltzeiler said.

The father of two said what’s even more shocking is his entire family was in the house as the brazen suspects took their time, looking around his car, at 7:30 a.m. last Wednesday.

“And then they rifled through my car. Thank God they got nothing,” Geltzeiler said.

Police from Roseland to Millburn are examining the video as they search for suspects who have broken into more than 100 cars. In suburban Roseland, thieves got into 17 unlocked cars, stealing four, including Sean Bowe’s Subaru in just two days.

“They stole my phone charger, sunglasses and that’s it,” Bowe said.

The thieves also used his Subaru to commit another car burglary.

“I can’t believe I got my car back and there’s really nothing wrong,” Bowe said.

Residents are also worried about their homes, especially those who have garage door openers built into their cars. Some say they are keeping the portable ones with them.

Roseland’s police chief said thieves are stealing anything that’s visible.

“I am asking all my early morning people who jog and walk or walk their dogs to make sure they have cell phones and report any suspicious vehicles and persons to us,” Chief Richard McDonough said.

One stolen car in Roseland was also used in a carjacking in Millburn, where there have been close to 100 car burglaries since June. Police have made one arrest. They believe more suspects are out there.

For now, the best thing you can do to keep these suspects away is lock your car doors.

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