A new technology used in some cars, especially more high-end cars, paired with unlocked doors are leading to a skyrocketing number of car thefts in Westchester County.
Towns throughout the county have seen more and more cars being stolen by thieves, with Westchester District Attorney Anthony Scarpino saying that the county “appears to have become the supply chain for the theft of vehicles for out of state individuals.”
The numbers back up that claim. Overall, thefts are up 60 percent in Westchester County. Scarsdale has seen a 2000 percent spike in stolen cars from 2019 to 2020. Ryebrook has had a 1200 percent jump and Sleepy Hollow a 700 percent climb – with other towns right behind them, on a list none of them want to be a part of.
So what’s driving the stolen car surge? The DA says it’s professional thieves from New Jersey and Connecticut coming into Westchester, looking for unlocked cars. Making it even easier for them: key fobs left inside the parked cars.
“They’re checking door handles. If they see that the door handle is locked,” said Captain Ed Murphy of the Scarsdale Police Department. “They’re moving on to another vehicle. If they see that the vehicle is unlocked they enter and rummage through.”
Thankfully, there’s a fairly easy and obvious solution, as Scarpino put it: “I’m asking the people of Westchester to please simply lock their cars. Do not leave the fobs in the cars.”
Honda’s have been stolen the most, particularly the Honda CR-V. BMWs are also high on the list.
The cars are typically being stolen and broken into (without having to trigger any alarms) in the early morning hours, and have often been used for other crimes. Because leaving a key fob in the car won’t allow the user to lock the doors, officials are asking owners to simply take the fob with them after leaving the car.