Tips on keeping cars from being vandalized


Even in the wintertime, Riverside County Park – stretching along the banks of the Passaic in both Lyndhurst and North Arlington – continues to attract visitors. Recently, however, some of those visitors have been members of an “organized car burglary crew” known as the Felony Lane Gang.

Warning about their activity came in a public advisory issued recently by Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal, who cited an increase in thefts from cars throughout the county. Prime targets have been vehicles left unattended at parks, gyms/fitness centers, YMCAs, daycare centers and similar establishments.

According to a map of the crime sites, most appear to have occurred in northern Bergen, but Riverside Park in Lyndhurst was included. As of press time, The Observer had not been able to obtain from Grewal’s office the dates or other specifics of the local incidents.

The prosecutor’s advisory noted that the thieves “break into unattended vehicles and steal identification and financial documents (credit cards and checkbooks) whether in bags, purses or wallets or otherwise stored in the vehicles.”  And, Grewal warned, the culprits can be “gone in 30 seconds.”

“They then immediately attempt to use the stolen information to attempt to withdraw money from their victims’ bank accounts or to incur unauthorized charges on their victims’ credit cards, using their stolen identification cards to facilitate their activities,” Grewal said.

He offered the following advice (which, we note, has been offered by law enforcement multiple times before but apparently continues to be ignored):

  1. Do not leave your purse or other valuable property (cell phones, tablets, laptops, cash or jewelry) visible in your car, at any time. We encourage you to take your valuables with you, or if you must, lock them in your glove box (out of plain view). Please also close your car windows and lock your doors.
  2. Be aware of your surroundings and report any suspicious vehicles or people at these locations. If you see something that looks out of the ordinary, say something by calling your local police department. And please heed this warning: Do not approach suspicious vehicles or persons on your own. Call the police!

 – Karen Zautyk


Learn more about the writer ...