After five vehicle thefts were reported within the span of an hour in a Long Island community on Thursday, that number has more than doubled in just two days, as a car has been stolen every four hours over the pas 48 hours across two towns, according to police.
Suffolk County Police said that the thefts have come in Hauppauge and Saint James. In each of the incidents, the vehicles were unlocked, some with the key fob still inside — meaning the thieves simply had to open the door, press a button and take off. Most of the vehicles have since been recovered.
"I went outside to warm the car up, and it was gone. Just gone," Crystal Gasparik said with a chuckle. Her car was stolen overnight in Saint James, but fortunately was recovered just a few blocks away.
"I went to go inside my car, and it was locked, they took the keys with them, and now I can't find my spare," she said.
At an afternoon press conference, police said they believe the thefts are crimes of opportunity. If the thieves find an open door, they may take items inside the car — but if the key fob is inside as well, they'll steal the car, according to officials.
Police are looking to for two or three suspects who strike in the early morning hours.
Gasparik's father was helping his daughter Friday night, and Crystal could be out hundreds of dollars simply because she forgot to lock her doors, which she said she will work to prevent going forward.
"I'm not going to leave my cars unlocked anymore," Gasparik said.
Police said they would be increasing patrols in Hauppauge and Saint James.