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Rash of stolen cars prompt warning from police

NORTH GREENBUSH -- Police in North Greenbush are warning drivers to keep their cars secure after a recent rash of thefts.

Chief Robert Durivage says he's seen more car thefts in a week than they have had in one year. And he says young people are the culprits.

A Troy teen was arrested on Tuesday, accused of stealing a truck stolen a day earlier. The 14-year-old boy was charged with criminal possession of stolen property and grand larceny after investigators say they discovered a Ford key in the boy's pocket that belonged to the stolen pickup truck.

The truck was one of two vehicles stolen from the same residence in the Wynantskill area approximately 12 hours apart. Both vehicles were found in Troy.

Police believe the recent rise in stolen vehicles is largely due to unlocked cars being left unattended in driveways. Officials have released the following tips to help owners protect their vehicles and belongings:

All auto break-ins usually have one thing in common: there's something left in the car worth stealing...or stealing the vehicle itself! Most larcenies from cars are "crimes of opportunity" that could be prevented by taking some preventative steps. The North Greenbush Police department recommends the following:
  • Don't leave valuables in your vehicle: you'd be surprised how often this happens, but individuals leave valuable items in plain sight all the time. If you leave items in your vehicle and they're visible, the chances your vehicle will get broken into, increase greatly.
  • Lock ALL of your vehicle's doors: This is true even if you plan on only being gone for "just a second." Remember, it only takes seconds to steal items from your car. It's not uncommon, for theives to walk down a row of parked vehicles, looking for unlocked doors. Also, make sure car windows aren't left open.
  • Park in busy, well lit areas: Pick a parking spot where there is a lot of activity. Auto thieves prefer breaking into cars in isolated areas.
  • Don't leave a trace: don't leave any sign that there might be valuables "out of sight" in your vehicle. For example: the suction cup on your dashboard, might tell thieves, that you have a GPS system in your vehicle. Leave nothing in plain view. Very few auto break-ins are "random." The thieves usually see something out in the open or hints of possible hidden valuables.
  • Alarms or anti-theft devices work: Thieves are usually looking for the "easiest" target. If your car has an alarm, it could act as a deterrent. But don't make this common mistake: Just because you have an alarm, doesn't mean thieves won't break-in. IF you leave valuable items in plain sight.
  • Don't leave spare keys in your vehicle: An experienced thief knows all the hiding places. Store spare keys elsewhere, possibly your wallet or purse.
If your vehicle is stolen or property is taken from the vehicle, there are a number of things you can and should do:
  • Call police immediately, provide a complete description of the items taken. Also provide license plate number, make and model of vehicle, year and color, plus VIN number and insurance company.
  • Don't leave your driver's license or title in the vehicle.
  • Keep a record of the VIN number, license plate number, and insurance information in your wallet or purse.