Bastards! Pit crew stealing our wheels

Bastards! Pit crew stealing our wheels
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Two Brownstone Brooklyn residents found their tireless cars propped on cinder blocks Thursday morning, and cops say the rim thefts, which are eerily reminiscent of the bad old days when vehicles parked in urban areas routinely had their wheels ripped out from under them, are the latest in a trend that is sweeping through tonier neighborhoods.

“We’ve been hit pretty regularly for about two months, getting at least one a week,” said Capt. John Lewis, the commanding officer of the 76th Precinct, which covers Carroll Gardens. “The kids that have these suped-up cars like the look of the new Honda wheels.”

Lewis surmised that a profession pit crew has been prowling the area, and they don’t waste anytime when they see what they want.

“These are not random thefts,” Lewis said. “There are crews that go around looking for these tires. And they’re very fast.”

The tireless tire thieves bounced around Brownstone Brooklyn overnight, swiping pricey wheels and rims from late-model vehicles.

Windsor Terrace resident Benita Hirsch was one such victim: on Thursday morning when she went to pick up her rental, a brand new Honda Accord she left on 10th Avenue near 17th Street the night before, she found it resting on cinder blocks.

Witnesses say the car was fine at around sunrise.

“I saw the car untouched at about 6 am,” 10th Avenue resident Gus Santos said. “[The theft] must have happened around 7 am.”

The same morning, a motorist discovered his Range Rover parked on Pierrepont Place between Montague and Pierrepont streets in Brooklyn Heights teetering on a milk crate. A thief had removed two of the four tires — leaving the lug nuts behind in a little pile.

Other recent tire thefts include:

This Range Rover parked on Pierrepont Place on Thursday morning looks fine from this side…
Community Newspaper Group / Alfred Ng

• A Honda CRV parked on Henry Street near Joralemon Street over the weekend.

A Honda CRV left on DeGraw Street near Hicks Street on Oct. 19.

• A 2010 Nissan Maxima parked on Sackett Street between Hoyt and Smith streets on Oct. 22.

Brownstone Brooklyn isn’t the only area in the borough that thieves are targeting.

Cars are also being victimized in Southern Brooklyn, where the blog GerritsenBeach.net has a web page featuring photos of rubber-free cars.

Cops said Honda models are high on theives’ list, as their tires and rims are hot commodities that people are willing to pay top dollar for: a quick check on Ebay shows that the cost of a set ranges between $1,100 and $1,800.

The sight of cars left tireless atop cinder blocks or milk crates, a common occurrence in the 1970s and ’80s, is taking today’s Brooklynites by surprise.

“This is something I never thought I’d see in Windsor Terrace,” said Hirsch, who the thieves left flat Thursday morning. “I guess this is the sign of the economic times.”

Anyone with information regarding these tire thefts is urged to contact the NYPD CrimeStoppers hotline at (800) 577-7477. All calls will be kept confidential.

Reach reporter Thomas Tracy at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2525.

…but things don’t look so hunky-dorey on the the other side: thieves removed two tires from the SUV sometime Wednesday night, leaving it resting on a milk crate.
Community Newspaper Group / Alfred Ng