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Parts of Glen Cove see a rise of car larcenies

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Simply forgetting to lock the car is costing some Glen Cove residents the loss of their valuables, as individuals, who have yet to be identified, are stealing from unlocked cars.

“We believe it’s mostly adolescents and they’re not actually breaking into the cars, they’re just checking the cars to see if it’s open,” said Glen Cove Police Department Chief William Whitton. “Then they go in and take the obvious thing that people would leave in their cars; loose change, credit cards, cell phones, once in a while a lap-top. Generally speaking they’re not doing any damage.”

Detective Lt. John Nagle of the GCPD said that these larcenies have been taking place since May throughout Glen Cove and surrounding areas in the late hours of the night and early hours of the morning.

“The one common denominator in all of these larcenies is that the vehicles have been left unlocked by the vehicle owner,” Nagle said. “The thieves have struck in numerous areas in Glen Cove with the majority of the thefts occurring in the Landing area and the Glen Cove Avenue area.  Residents are urged to immediately call the Glen Cove Police if they see suspicious persons or vehicles in their neighborhoods, especially late night and nearly morning hours.”

Glen Cove resident Alexander Papas said that after fellow city residents noticed missing items in their cars, a nightly reminder in the “Glen Cove Neighbors” Facebook page, which Papas is an administrator, was implemented to make sure members lock their car at night. “Hopefully if these people can’t get anything from our area, they will move on,” he said.

Papas said his car was stolen from a few weeks ago. “Funny thing is you don’t always notice; all of a sudden you need your glasses or something and it’s gone,” he said. “My wife noticed her change cup was gone and her glasses. The only reason we realized right away was because somebody made a post about it in the group.”

“There has been some video footage that we’ve been able to review but it is mostly low quality video from Ring cameras and a lot of times these people are wearing face masks, which makes it even more difficult,” Whitton said, adding that when one credit card was traced back to a store, the people caught using the card on CCTV footage were wearing a mask, making it difficult to identify them. 

“I guess you could chalk it up to ‘well you should lock your doors,’” Papas said. “They aren’t breaking any windows or door locks. Just opening unlocked doors. Still it’s a [bad] thing to do. I’m concerned that these things will start happening more now that we are starting to feel the effects of the Covid shut down.”

While Whitton said “sooner or later” the GCPD or a homeowner would catch someone in the act, which would subsequently lead to an arrest, residents should never leave their cars unlocked. “Don’t leave valuables in the car,” he said. “Do not leave your wallet, your credit card, or your cell phone.”

Whitton also recommends installing motion lights near driveways.

“Your behavior is incredibly selfish,” Whitton said of those involved with the larcenies. “It needs to stop. People work hard for what they have. You do not have the right to go and take their property just because they left their car unlocked. It’s wrong. It’s immoral.”