MAPLEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Bold thieves targeted cars in Maplewood, they weren’t after vehicles, but seemed to be looking for specific parts.
Kathy Hoovler told CBS2’s Meg Baker that she now hoofs it to the train station after her car was robbed in the parking lot.
“Yeah it happened to us,” she said, “so we don’t drive into parking lots anymore.”
She found her car had been hit after stepping off the train.
“We have just a Toyota matrix, we have no hubcaps…Here in the parking lot, 8-months-ago,” she said.
Hoovler isn’t alone. Maplewood police sent out an alert to residents after several reports of stolen tires and rims.
One picture posted on Facebook shows a car on blocks in the train station parking lot.
“I had heard about it on a local Facebook group,” Rebecca Hayes said, “Hope the police be more vigilant, because I don’t know what I would do to be more vigilant.”
In other cases cars have been stolen right off of residents’ property. On November 19, at 2:30 a.m. homeowners saw an SUV drive off their lawn after they came outside to find all four tires and rims removed from the Range Rover in their own driveway, police said.
Earlier in November, again in the overnight hours, four vehicles were hit on Midland Boulevard, Oakview Ave, and Essex Road. All of those cars were parked in residential driveways.
In October, four jeeps were targeted on Walton Road, Burnet Street, and Elmwood Ave.
Few houses on Bernet Street have garages, so many people park on the street. Some people said they will be changing that after seeing the police alert, they’ll be squeezing into their driveways instead.
“Can never have enough police, just a matter of time before it happens, but they are on it,” Phil Pascavage said.
Pascavage pointed to cameras in the parking lot of the train station, but if it’s happening there in public what can homeowners do at their houses?
“I have motion sensors on my house, at least outside for lighting, and I know several others do too,” Tamu Waluye said.
Maplewood Police said motion sensing lights are a good idea, but they can be pricey.
“To install, if existing socket, it would be hundreds if you had to start from scratch,” Maureen Hawes, Buncher’s True Value, said.
Others called for an increase in police patrols.
“We have to have more patrol officers surveying the area, shouldn’t be happening around here,” Benjamin Eliasiant said.
Authorities suggested getting anti theft tire locks, similar to the tire boots used by police.
Maplewood police said they have increased patrols in ares where thefts have occurred.