With the number of high-end vehicle thefts now up to 18 between Westhampton and Wainscott this summer, police said the public can help deter such crimes of opportunity. As previously reported, vehicles stolen have been left unlocked and with spare keys inside.
Southampton Town Police Detective Sgt. Lisa Costa said the rash of auto thefts appear to be connected. Police from the various police agencies have been working together for weeks, but had not said the cases were all related.
Newer model Mercedes, BMWs and Range Rovers have been targeted, usually with the vehicles being taken from driveways after 10 p.m. "This allows the theft to go undetected until morning when the victim discovers their vehicle missing and reports it to police," she said.
East Hampton Town, Westhampton Village, Quogue Village, Southampton Village, and Southampton Town police departments have all had thefts reported in their jurisdictions. East Hampton Village police are also involved in the investigation though Costa said no cars were reported missing from their area.
Suffolk County Crime Stoppers is also offering a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information, can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.
While police try to crack the case in the midst of the busy summer season, they are asking residents and visitors to take precautions.
"Make it part of your daily routine to lock your doors, make sure your windows are rolled up, make sure no spare keys are left in your car(s), and set your car alarm — even if you are away from your vehicle for a brief time," Costa said.
To help prevent crimes, police recommend removing valuables, including pocketbooks, cellphones, and electronics, from inside the car when it is left unattended.
"And, if you see any activity that looks suspicious — report it to the police immediately so we can work together for a safer community. If you see something….Say something," she said.
Residents are asked to call their local police department immediately to report suspicious activity.
- Southampton Town Detectives: 631-702-2230
- Westhampton Village PD: 631-288-3444
- Southampton Village PD: 631-283-0056
- East Hampton Town Detectives: 631-537-6989
- East Hampton Village PD: 631-324-3010
- Quogue Village PD: 631-653- 4791