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West Orange Police Catch Juvenile Car Thief Red-Handed

Cynthia Cumming

Thursday, July 31, 2014 • 10:29am

WEST ORANGE, NJ - On July 30, West Orange police apprehended an Orange juvenile with the proceeds of vehicle break-ins in the Valley section of town.

Officers Pedilla and Kelly observed two juveniles walking on South Valley Road that matched the description of a police tracking report earlier in the week. Police approached the youths at the corner of Meeker Street and Central Avenue and they fled upon seeing police. One of the youths was apprehended and told police that the contents of a backpack belonged to his friend. The other juvenile, also an Orange resident, eluded arrest.

A search of the backpack revealed the following: an Acer laptop; $13.09 in change; 3 cell phones; a pair of Ray Ban sunglasses; bottles of Gucci and Lively colognes; keys and key rings; a USB port; two Monmouth Park Season Passes, and a Garmin GPS which tracked back to a vehicle break-in in South Orange.

Valley residents had been reporting an average of 3-4 vehicle break-ins nightly. According to the police, the vehicles were unlocked. 

The investigation is active and ongoing.

In the meantime, the Department has issued a list of Crime Stopping Tips to Prevent Vehicle Break-Ins:

Vehicle break-ins are considered crimes of opportunity, meaning that thieves are looking for the easiest targets. It is important to know and practice these suggestions, whether parking your car in your driveway, on the street, in your hometown, or wherever you go.

Lock All Doors and Windows

Always lock your car doors no matter where you park and make sure your windows are up. Thieves look for easy targets like unlocked doors. A majority of car break-in cases that West Orange police handle involve parked cars that were left unlocked. Even if you are leaving the car for "only a second" lock all your doors.

Park in well-lit areas

Parking in a well-lit area where your vehicle is highly visible will also deter thieves, especially if there is constant traffic and other people walking by. Parking your vehicle in a dimly lit, remote area of a parking lot or garage makes your vehicle an easy target. Set your alarm.

Remove valuables from sight

Leaving an expensive GPS unit on the dashboard or a laptop computer on the back seat invites a vehicle to be broken into. Cell phones, cash and electronic devices left on the front seat are other easy targets because these items are small and can be easily grabbed by thieves. Power cables and chargers are a sign that expensive electronics items are in the car. Secure your valuables in the trunk, or cover them up and keep them out of view. Doing so before you reach your destination is also a good idea, in the event that a thief is watching the parking lot.

Notify each other of criminal and suspicious activity

Talking to neighbors and setting up a plan could be a valuable way to stay informed as to suspicious activity in the area. If a car alarm is heard, it’s recommended to always check it out.

If your car is broken into, immediately report the incident to the police, even if you decide not to report it to your insurance company.  We need your assistance in determining what areas may be experiencing car break-in activity. To report non-emergencies call 973-325-4000. For emergencies or crimes in progress, call 9-1-1.

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