Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder urged residents on the Great Neck peninsula to be mindful of locking their vehicles due to the increased number of car thefts in the area over the past month.
From Jan. 1 to March 25 last year, only two cars were stolen on the peninsula, Ryder said during a meeting in the Village of Great Neck last week. In the same period this year, he said, 23 cars have been stolen throughout the nine villages and several hamlets. In 21 of the 23 cases, he said, the key fobs had been left in the car.
“It’s nearly impossible for us to catch them unless we catch them in the act,” Ryder said. “They’re coming back here over and over again because we’re making it easy for them.”
Ryder said a majority of stolen cars that have been recovered are located in Newark. He also said car thieves will drive the car around, leave it somewhere and if nobody comes near the car and it is not impounded, then the car will be rented to another individual who uses it to commit other crimes.
Village of Great Neck Mayor Pedram Bral said that villages across Nassau County are working with County Executive Bruce Blakeman, who was also present at the meeting, and the Police Department to secure license plate readers so that any car that is reported stolen can be better tracked by law enforcement.
Blakeman touted the work done by the Police Department, along with the training and resources officers have at their disposal, but said more needs to be done to prevent the thefts.
“These people keep getting out without having to post bail and they keep committing crime after crime,” Blakeman said. “I would urge everyone to reach out to your state legislators and tell them ‘enough is enough’ and that cashless bail is something that’s hurting the quality of life in this community.”
Stealing cars that have garage door openers inside are also ways to attract repeat offenders, Ryder said, as criminals will sometimes rent the car but keep the garage door button to come in and burglarize an individual’s home.
A group of Chilean burglars was arrested in early 2020 for allegedly burglarizing three North Shore homes, including two in Sands Point and Great Neck Estates. District Attorney Anne Donnelly, who at the time was the deputy chief of the Nassau district attorney’s Rackets Bureau, said the men brazenly told arresting officers their handler recruited them to burglarize New York homes and the risk of jail was low because of the state’s new bail reform laws.
Officials confirmed James Clark, the court-appointed defense attorney, asked for the men to be released on their own recognizance. District Court Judge Martin Massell ordered the men to be held without bail, though only two were charged with bail-qualifying offenses, according to a representative from the district attorney’s office.
Saddle Rock Mayor Dan Levy’s house was burglarized prior to the arrest of two men in December. According to officials, more than $100,000 worth of collectible coins and family mementos were stolen from Levy’s home.