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Car burglaries rise with temps: take these tips

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

Leaving your car in a commercial lot is no lock it won’t be broken into, say police, pointing to a remarkable string of 22 vehicle burglaries — and the theft of a 2010 Camry that still had the keys in it — at the Hyatt Hotel in Fair Lawn.

Police say such sprees are common, usually because people don’t take the time to protect their cars, or realize the price they’ll pay once there’s a break-in.

The overnight haul included GPS units, purses, cellphones and other electronic items, including a GPS/video system ripped right from the dashboard.

Investigators from Bergen County Sheriff Leo McGuire’s Bureau of Criminal Identification processed the scene at the Broadway Hotel parking garage and found two different glove prints on the cars.

What they didn’t find was a blue, four-door 2010 Toyota Camry, with Indiana license plates — and a full set of keys in the car.

If anyone can help in this case, please contact Fair Lawn Police Detective Jeff Welsh at 201.794.5410.

Meanwhile, police urge common sense. And keep in mind: Someone who can break into your car can find something to help break into your house.

It starts with the basics:

  • Park in well-lighted areas;
  • Lock all the doors and close all the windows, even if you’re parked in your own driveway OR garage;
  • Don’t leave ANYTHING of ANY value in plain view; Put all bags, suitcases, etc., in your trunk before you get to where you’re going;
  • NEVER stash an extra key inside the car;
  • DO NOT leave bank statements, credit cards, bills or statements that thieves can use to steal your identity;
  • LOCK your glove compartment.

While we’re at it, it wouldn’t hurt to poke a few holes in common misconceptions:

ONE : There’s no such thing as ”   I’m just running in.”   That gives a thief just enough time to hop in;

TWO : Never think “no one wants my car”; statistics show common vehicles at least a few years old are the biggest targets (you have any idea how much parts for those go for?). Most popular: Honda’s Accord and Civic, Toyota’s Camry and, yes, the Olds Cutlass.

EXPLORE ways of disabling your vehicle; sometimes it’s just a matter of removing the distributor or hooking up a hood lock. There are also kill switches and devices that prevent hot-wiring — and they’re ridiculously cheap. (I had a kill switch installed in a quite secretive spot, and it kept my car from being stolen several times).

“The Club” might seem antiquated, but anything that makes the job tougher is worth it, especially if you’re dealing with street slime. Still, nothing scares the beejesus out of a common burglar like noise — as in: a car alarm.

An excellent site that lists and explains various anti-theft devices is .

One extra tip: Check out your insurance coverage top to bottom. Don’t assume theft or damage is automatically covered. And remember, whatever you get back is based on depreciation. You could end up spending a lot more than you expected for a replacement.

And it’s gonna take awhile, so you’ll have to find alternative means of transport.

Finally: If you’re car is broken into, you’re still on the hook for the deductible.

Remember: These guys just want to get in and out; the more difficult your car is to burglarize, the quicker they’ll move on to the next one.

There are more than enough victims hitching rides, taking the bus and overpaying for rentals. Don’t make it easy to become another one.

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