A rash of car break-ins in Windsor Terrace may have been brought to a quick end last week with the arrest of three thieves.
The unidentified thieves were apprehended as they were caught breaking into a Chevy Suburban parked at the corner of Terrace Place and 11th Avenue during the early morning hours of September 10 – reportedly by a cop who was running late for work, according to the New York Daily News.
The arrest took place just hours after Detective Michael Cleary of the 72nd Precinct Community Policing Unit told members of the Windsor Terrace Alliance that eleven car break-ins had occurred in Windsor Terrace between August 11 and September 7.
Nine of the cars had been broken into between midnight and daybreak, he said. The remaining two took place during the day.
The thieves, he explained, were most likely looking for pricey and portable global positioning system, or GPS, devices.
“At least five GPS devices were taken out of these cars,” Cleary said, suggesting that motorists remove them from the vehicle when they lock it down for the night.
“We recommend that you take it off your window and out of your cars,” he said. “Don’t put it in your center console or glove box, because that’s the first place they look.”
In fact, the thieves do not seem to be looking for anything else, he said.
“In one case, a thief broke into a car and there was an iPod there, but he didn’t take it.”
Thieves can get about $150 for every GPS they steal on the black market, officials said.
Along with the GPS boxes, motorists should also remove the bracket for the box, which is usually affixed to the windshield with suction cups.
Once a thief sees one of those brackets hanging from the windshield, he knows it’s very likely that a GPS box will be in the car somewhere, Cleary warned.
Investigators said that the truly savvy car thieves can tell that someone has a GPS in the car even when a bracket isn’t present. They can tell by the rings left behind by the suction cups, they said, recommending that careful motorists wipe down that part of the windshield before leaving their vehicle.
Cleary told Windsor Terrace Alliance members that cops were looking into the possibility that one person could be responsible for the GPS thefts.
That hunch may have been proven correct several hours later when a cop from the 76th Precinct spotted the three thieves breaking into the SUV as he made his way to his midnight shift.
The three thieves reportedly had screwdrivers and hammers on them, as well as other tools needed for a night of busting into cars, officials said.
As of this writing, cops were trying to connect the three suspects to other thefts in the area, as well as surrounding neighborhoods.
Besides the eleven cars looted, Cleary told Windsor Terrace residents that four other cars had their windows broken in August.
Twelve tires had also been slashed, he said.