Today’s news:

Smash-and-grab car spree at Co-op City

Bronx Times

It was a good night for car vandals - and a bad one for almost four dozen car owners around Co-op City.

They smashed-and-grabbed contents from up to 47 vehicles on its local streets in a single night.

The vehicles were broken into between 11 p.m. on Tuesday, August 13 and 6 a.m. on Wednesday, August 14, with a concentration of the grab-and-go break-ins in Section 5, police said.

Detectives from the 45th Precinct were examining the vehicles for fingerprints and other potential evidence, they said.

“We don’t really have a lot of leads, we had absolutely no callers the night of the incidents or any witnesses,” said 45th Precinct Captain McGeown. “We are hoping that someone just heard or saw something and can call in and give us some help.”

McGeown said that the 45th Precinct detective squad is investigating because of the large number of incidents that occurred at once.

He also noted that patrols have been stepped up on the midnight tour of both uniformed and plainclothes officers, with help from the borough command.

The cars were parked on city streets along the Hutchinson River Parkway service road in Section 5 and on Baychester Avenue between Bartow and Donizetti Place, a service road of I-95.

Vernon Cooper, general manager of the Riverbay Corp. which runs Co-op City, said it will take every reasonable action to see that those responsible are arrested, found guilty, and prosecuted.

“We have not experienced anything like this, it is very unusual,” he said. “It is certainly easy to target this or any community during those hours, when most people are at home or asleep.”

The Co-op City Department of Public Safety is working closely with the 45th Precinct, he said, and has a hotline for anyone with information: (718) 879-6311.

“We stress that the callers can remain anonymous if they choose, or if they want, they can leave their name and phone number so we can get back to them,” he said.

The 45th Precinct’s Crime Prevent Officer, Erin Rabbitt, and its community affairs unit were in Co-op City on Saturday August 17 to offer information about the free anti-auto-theft programs that the NYPD sponsors, including its VIN Etching, Combat Auto Theft (CAT) and Help End Auto Theft (HEAT) programs.

“We are just really trying to make the community aware, spreading the word about not leaving your laptops, wallets, and credit cards on the front seat of your vehicle at night,” said Rabbitt. “We are bringing free programs we have to safeguard and register your car, and which also save on insurance.”

The NYPD and CCPD will be back offering the programs on Saturday, August 24 at 177 Dreiser Loop between 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and on Saturday, August 31 at 2049 Bartow Avenue between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

For more information about vehicle crime prevention programs, call Officer Rabbitt at (718) 822-5487.

If you have information about the breakins, call Detective Mike Conner at (718) 822-5414 or Bronx Borough investigators at (718) 378-8083.

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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