NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Drivers in the Bronx are concerned about a spike in car thefts and break-ins with some returning to their vehicles to find broken windows, missing tires and even missing doors.
A snow-covered car with a shattered window was spotted Thursday morning on the Henry Hudson service road near 246th Street. And there were more where that came from.
“You know, there’s that sense of being invaded, and this is a very quiet block,” said Richard Espinal, “so just to have something like that happen was very disconcerting.”
Espinal said he was getting into his car last week when he noticed that “someone had gotten into my car. They had trashed everything inside.”
The thieves stole a Christmas gift. It was one of many sightings residents in Riverdale say is becoming all too common.
“When I go out in the morning, I see the glass all over the place and it’s frequent,” resident Herb Eysser told CBS2’s Lisa Rozner. “I mean they steal the tires, they steal the doors.”
All four doors were ripped right off of a Nissan Altima last week. The car was parked right in front of an apartment building on Fieldston Road.
“That tells me they’re professionals looking for parts,” said resident David Hannon.
Everything from rims to tires. Pam Danzig says thieves tried to steel a neighbor’s wheels.
“While she got on the highway someone stopped her and told her all her wheels we’re wobbling and it turned out they tried to steal her tires but probably someone came along,” said Danzig.
Just last week, Adam Fischer caught a thief in action.
“I came out the door and stared him down, and he got out immediately and started walking up this way,” Fischer said.
“I was shocked that this guy would do it at 9:30 in the morning, and he was so quick – that’s what really surprised me,” said Martha Fischer.
City Councilman Andrew Cohen (D-11th), who has lived in the neighborhood for 20 years, said he has even seen cars without tires standing on cinder blocks. He believes a specific group of professional thieves are involved.
‘It’s not an army of ants stealing car parts,” Cohen said. “It’s one crew that’s doing this, and they will get caught.”
One local auto body shop just last week treated one of the cars missing rims. The owner said Hondas are a target because the rims can be used on models from any year.
Thieves appear to target newer vehicles and in some cases even those parked in a personal driveway.
Some residents say recently, more street lights were put in, but they are asking for more patrols.
“What we’re asking of the 50 precinct is to allocate some additional resources here in the neighborhood,” said Eysser.
The NYPD says the 50th precinct has increased patrols of marked and unmarked cars and say this year, they have made more than 40 arrests.