A trio of thieves has been targeting drivers in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan through a scheme in which one of them pretends to fix a flat tire while another goes inside the car to take the driver's belongings, police said.
The majority of the drivers were targeted in Queens, but the scheme has expanded to Manhattan and Brooklyn in the last month, according to police.
In each robbery, one of the suspects approaches drivers and points out a flat tire or approaches the drivers after they've already pulled over for a flat tire. When the drivers go to inspect the damage, the other suspect or suspects take property from the inside of the car.
The first dozen incidents were reported on the following dates and locations in Queens:
- Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012, at a Bank of America at Parsons and Northern Boulevard
- Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, at a TD Bank in Bayside
- Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, near Crossbay Boulevard and 163rd Avenue
- Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, at a Chase parking lot at 33-45 154th St.
- Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, in front of 150-02 Northern Blvd.
- Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, in Ridgewood
- Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, inside a supermarket parking lot at 144-50 Northern Blvd.
- Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, near 216-03 Jamaica Ave.
- Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, near 38-20 Review Ave.
- Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, in a parking lot along Northern Boulevard
Police said Monday they've added the following incidents to the grand larceny pattern:
- Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, near East Second Street and Avenue T in south Brooklyn
- Monday, March 11, 2013, near First Avenue and East 82nd Street on the Upper East Side
- Saturday, March 23, 2013, near 101st Avenue and 121st Street in Queens
- Wednesday, March 27, 2013, near Withers Street and Union Avenue in Brooklyn
In the latest thefts, the suspect engaged the victims in the tire repair, having them hold a can of Fix-a-Flat against the flattened tire. In some other instances, the suspect or suspects would spray substance over the back of the victim's jacket and swipe property from the pockets as they cleaned the back of the jacket.
Anyone who recognizes the suspects in the video is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS or at nypdcrimestoppers.com.