Since Christmas Eve there have been five incidents of people calling in bogus food orders to Chinese restaurants in Franklin Square, Lawrence, North Woodmere and Valley Stream and then stealing the delivery vehicles, police said.
At the intersection of Henry Street and Bayview Avenue in Inwood, Lt. Richard LeBrun, the commanding officer of Public Information for NCPD, said four people, legally classified as juveniles, were taken into custody and issued appearance tickets for future court dates.
The most recent incident occurred in Lawrence at 9:15 p.m. on Feb. 7. Police said that a delivery man, 54, for Happy Wok Chinese restaurant on Rockaway Turnpike in Cedarhurst tried to deliver food to 13 Bernard Ave.
He found that No. 13 does not exist. He got out of the vehicle and went to No. 11, when two men, described as black, got out of black minivan with Indiana registration plates and got into the victim’s vehicle, according to police. They drove west on Bernard Avenue in the direction of the Nassau Expressway. The vehicle was found in front of 98 Henry Street in Inwood. Two men, described as black, are being sought for that incident.
The subsequent investigation uncovered that four similar incidents have occurred since Dec. 24. On New Year’s Day at 8:40 p.m. near 36 Janet Place in North Woodmere. The vehicle was recovered on Strathmore Street. Also on Jan. 1 in Franklin Square at 6 p.m. near 819 Palmetto Drive. In Valley Stream on Jan. 24 at 4:22 p.m. near 24 Gotham Street. On Christmas Eve at 2:08 p.m. near 1096 Strathmore Street in North Woodmere.
LeBrun said the police are unsure how many different groups are involved and he added it's unclear if it may be a "competition."
"Education is the key," he said, "don't leave keys in the car. [Incidents] should be reported immediately [to 911] with location and direction of flight. Being a good witness is what we need."
If anyone has information about the incident call Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 244-8477. All calls are confidential.