SECAUCUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Ten French teenagers were waiting to a see a judge in New Jersey, on Monday afternoon.
Police say they were caught breaking into twelve cars in a Secaucus neighborhood.
“It blows my mind that this is going on in this neighborhood,” Ralph Pyrzanowski told CBS2’s Marc Liverman.
The cars were broken into early Friday morning, and police say a group of French teenagers is responsible. They were staying at a nearby hotel on an excursion from summer camp.
“There were six cop cars in front of the house taking fingerprints,” Pryzanowski said,” There’s still fingerprint stuff all over the car.”
Police told the victim that three of his family’s cars had been broken into.
“I had Mark Jacob sunglasses, they’re about $300, Tori Birch, I had two checkbooks,” Tara Decker said, “I had $700 but it was in a money envelope, and everything was all taken out of the glove compartment, the middle console.”
Everything in the cars had been moved around, but Decker said miraculously, nothing was actually missing.
Other victims weren’t as lucky. Police said in the end, ten suspects between 15 and 17-years-old got away with hundreds of dollars worth of property.
Cops say it all happened on second street between Pandolfi and Centre Streets, less than a quarter-mile apart — every one of the cars was unlocked.
It wasn’t until late Friday night into Saturday morning that the teens were caught.
A Secaucus police officer saw a group of teenagers walking the neighborhood with flashlights — cops say they were planning to do it again.
“We have had another string of burglaries, could have went you know, twenty, thirty cars that they could have got into, and we would have had 20 more victims,” Chief Kevin Flaherty said.
It’s a string of crimes of opportunity the Chief Flaherty and some in the neighborhood said could have been prevented.
“It takes only a second to lock your car,” Daniel Szumski said.
All ten teenagers have been charged with theft and conspiracy to commit burglary.
Police said most of the property stolen from the cars has been returned, and they’re working to recover the rest.
The French juveniles were scheduled to return to France on Saturday, but their lawyers said the judge will now decide when they go back.