NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The NYPD has boosted patrols following a jump in burglaries in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy, police spokesman Paul Browne announced.

The NYPD has reported several incidents of tow truck drivers poaching storm-damaged cars and selling them for parts.

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reports

A working group has been established by the NYPD to crack down on tow truck drivers illegally hauling off cars and then either charging what police called exorbitant fees to recover the vehicles or selling the cars for scrap.

“We’ve been stopping tow trucks to make sure their papers are in order and they have permission of the owners to be towing the cars they have,” Browne told WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb.

Police stopped a man in Howard Beach who was towing a Porsche behind his van. He showed the officers insurance papers seeming to give him permission, but the documents turned out to be fraudulent and the man was arrested, police said.

In addition the NYPD has deployed 500 light towers in neighborhoods where the power has not yet been restored to act as a deterrent to theft, Browne said.

Helicopter and marina patrols also continue to keep an eye on the uptick in robberies, according to police.

Last week, crime was down or flat in all categories citywide except for burglary. Compared with the same time last year, burglary was up 2 percent, according to police statistics.

Police said since Sandy, there have been 226 arrests for storm-related offenses, most of which were burglaries.

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