Uptown Car Thefts on Rise as Drivers Leave Keys in Ignition, Police Say

By Nigel Chiwaya on April 3, 2014 4:28pm 

 Car thefts have more than doubled in 2014 thus far and drivers who leave keys in ignitions often share the blame, according to the head of the 33rd Precinct.
Car thefts have more than doubled in 2014 thus far and drivers who leave keys in ignitions often share the blame, according to the head of the 33rd Precinct.
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WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Car thefts in the 33rd Precinct have more than doubled this year and police say careless drivers often share the blame.

Nine cars have been stolen in the upper Manhattan precinct from January through April 2, compared to four in the same period last year, Deputy Inspector Fausto Pichardo told residents Wednesday night at Community Board 12's public safety meeting.

“Six of them that were stolen, I attribute that to people leaving the keys in the ignition,” Pichardo said. "Please, if you're running in or double-parked for a second, please ensure that you remove the keys from the vehicle."

The thefts are occurring all across the precinct, with cars vanishing at lower Riverside Drive and 162nd Street, St. Nicholas Avenue and 157th Street, Broadway and 167th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue and 174th Street, Pichardo said.

“There’s no rhyme or reason," he said, adding the cars were of multiple models and makes. "There’s no specific car that’s being targeted.”

Four of the swiped cars were recovered in the precinct the very next day, leading police to believe the thieves might have taken them for thrills.

“That would give us the indication that someone took it for a joy ride for the day or two to get from point A and point B,” Pichardo said.

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