QUEENS — Thieves have gone on a spree in Kew Gardens, snapping up rims and tires from 15 cars so far this year and prompting a local precinct to distribute fliers in an effort to put the brakes on the trend.
Most of the cars — largely imports — were left on cinder blocks, but in some instances, sources said, vehicles were placed on tree limbs.
Officers from the 102nd Precinct, which covers Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven and Ozone Park, have been leaving leaflets on car windshields, informing vehicle owners about the rash of thefts.
“Lately there has been an increase in rims and tires being stolen from late model Honda Accords and Nissan Maximas, Infinitis, and Acuras within the 102 Precinct," although other car models have also been targeted, the flier says.
This year, there have been 33 rim and tire thefts in the 102nd Precinct as of Aug. 21, nearly half of them in Kew Gardens, according to the precinct.
In June, five such incidents occurred in Kew Gardens within a period of one week.
Statistics from previous years were not immediately available.
The thefts have also occurred in other Queens neighborhoods, including Forest Hills and Rego Park, where 16 such incidents were reported this year, police said.
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"It's been happening on and off forever," a police source said. "And now [the trend] has returned again."
The thefts usually take place at night and in the early morning, police said.
The flier warns that “one wheel lug lock does not stop these thieves,” and advises car owners that installing four or five such locks makes it “slightly more difficult for these perpetrators to steal your vehicles tires.”
“The longer it takes for the removal of these tires, our chances of someone reporting the crime in progress increases,” the flier reads.
Police said residents should try to park their cars in high-traffic and well-lit areas and should not leave any valuables inside.