SETAUKET, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Police warn thieves are stealing cars left running in the driveways of homes during food deliveries in Suffolk County.
It happened at least ten times since July 6, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported.
A late night knock on the door was the first clue that something was wrong for Louise Sali, who lives in Setauket.
“My daughter calls up, ‘Mom, did you order pizza?’ I said, ‘No, not at this hour,'” said Sali.
Things went downhill from there. The delivery car, left running in the driveway, sped off – leaving the delivery woman stunned.
“We saw the taillights leaving, and she came back to the door and said, ‘Someone took my car,'” said Sali. “She didn’t know what to do. She was panicked. Her eyes were like this big.”
In each case, a food delivery call was made to a restaurant – pizza, Chinese, fast food. When the delivery person showed up with the food, their car was stolen.
“They’re going to the address. When they get to the address, it’s either a bad address or the people didn’t order food,” said Det. Lt. Sean Beran of Suffolk County PD. “One, two, three people are waiting in the bushes, behind a car, or in the woods. They’re jumping in and they’re stealing the delivery person’s car.”
Police said many of the cars turned up the next day, begging the question: What’s the motive?
Neighbors said whatever the reason, it’s grand larceny and it’s preying on delivery people who have it hard enough already.
“It’s unsettling to know that something like that happens here, but I’m just glad no one got hurt,” said Setauket resident David Klecher.
“It’s really a shame that they picked such a crime. It’s ridiculous. I mean, the woman’s car wasn’t really worth that much, or anything. It wasn’t a brand new car. They’re not driving new cars. They’re barely making a living,” said Sali.
Suffolk County Police offered this advice to delivery workers: Don’t leave the car running, take the car key with you and lock up, even for the short walk to the door.