String of thefts from unlocked cars includes $20,000 stolen


Five items — two purses, a wallet, a pair of headphones, and a gift card — were stolen from five different cars on Aug. 17. Three of the vehicles were parked on Hargale Court, and one of the others was around the corner on Arrandale Road. The fifth was nine blocks north on Atkinson Road.

The thefts occurred the day after a similar incident involving the owner of the Dark Horse Tavern had $20,000 stolen from his car, which was parked behind the bar. Rockville Centre Police Commissioner Chuck Gennario said the department was unsure whether the car was locked or unlocked at the time of the alleged larceny.

The case has been passed on to Nassau County police, he added, who confirmed that detectives were investigating, but would not comment on any leads or suspects.

“They just go up to a car and try the door,” Gennario said, “and if it’s locked, they move on to a different car. I can’t even remember the last time somebody broke into a car. They don’t have to.”

Gennario said that last week — the day before speaking with the Herald — he himself was a victim of larceny. When he got into his car, he discovered that some loose change had gone missing from the cup holder. “They’re not looking for a lot,” he said.

Many times, according to Gennario, people who steal from unlocked cars are addicts, looking for “just enough money to support a drug habit.”

He explained that when more valuable items are stolen, it’s less likely to be a random theft. “Sure, it could have been random,” Gennario said. “Or it could have been that someone knew that the $20,000 would be in the car at that particular time.”

According to Gennario, there have only been 20 such thefts in Rockville Centre this year. He called the village’s number of car larcenies “astronomically low for the county.”

The owner of the Dark Horse Tavern had not responded to the Herald’s request for comment at press time.