Lindsey Reiersen was greeted with a nasty surprise on July 30, when she walked out of her driveway and saw the back windows of her new car smashed and all four tires stolen.
“They used bricks from the side of my house to prop up the car,” Reiersen said. “I woke up and was just in complete shock. It’s a new car, I’ve had it a month.”
She had no personal belongings in the vehicle, and while nothing was stolen, the experience still left the 24-year-old shaken up.
“I’m thankful I had no personal belongings in the vehicle and there wasn’t anything worse done but it’s a shame,” she said. “It’s very nerve wracking to think I had people on my property and that close to my house.”
Reiersen, who lives on Jamaica Boulevard, is just one of many Carle Place residents who have had their cars broken into and/or vandalized since the start of summer. Since the end of June, residents in the area have been plagued by cars being broken into, raising safety concerns in the close-knit community.
“Everyone seems really upset and on edge,” said resident Jill Douso, whose Dodge Journey was broken into and ransacked on Aug. 3. “It’s not something the community is proud of. We’re a small area and the fact that this is happening is making everyone uncomfortable.”
Detective Vincent Garcia from the Nassau County Police Department said that while crime in Nassau County is down overall, several communities, have seen an uptick in larcenies from autos including Williston Park (where an arrest was made) and Carle Place. Garcia said in a majority of these cases, car doors have been left unlocked.
“Individuals try car doors as they are walking down the street. If they find open ones, they enter the car and remove items,” Garcia said. “When you make it that easy, you are inviting criminals into your vehicles. The simplest tip is to always lock your car doors.”
Douso, who lives on Mineola Avenue, noted her car was pretty far up in her long driveway when burglars hit it. She said she is normally vigilant about locking the doors, but forgot one night and when she came out to it the next day, noticed her glove compartment and middle console open, and papers were thrown all over the place. Her sunglasses and change weren’t stolen, but she said she still felt upset and violated that someone would come onto her property.
“It’s an invasion of my privacy. A police officer told my husband that if I left the car unlocked it was pretty much my fault,” Douso said. “And that’s not right. It was in my driveway, it’s on my personal property, and no one has the right to go into it at any time.”
Garcia advised residents not to leave valuables in their cars, noting that phones, GPS, computers, pocketbooks and wallets are among the items that have been stolen from cars throughout the county. And residents should also be careful not to leave key fobs in the car. Garcia noted that many high end cars were stolen from the north shore a few years ago because residents would leave their key fobs in their unlocked car, making it easy for a burglar to simply open the door, push the start button and drive away.
But sometimes, there’s no theft, just vandalism. Adrienne Frodella’s husband’s car was locked with two portable DVD players left on the backseat. Vandals shattered the driver’s side window and left weed burned in a dollar bill by the back tire. She filed a report with the NCPD, but was left frustrated.
“They told me it was probably kids, but that there was nothing more that they could do,” Frodella said, noting that she rarely sees cop cars patrolling by her house on Jamaica Boulevard across from the Meadowbrook Parkway. “If I lived in Brooklyn or the Bronx, I would atleast expect this, but this is supposed to be a good neighborhood.”
Carle Place residents are increasing security on their properties, installing sensor lights, cameras and car alarms. Garcia said that the NCPD is aware of the incidents and will be increasing their patrols in the area, but the police department is still counting on residents to report any suspicious activity.
“If you see something, say something,” Garcia said. “Our residents are our biggest asset. They know their neighbors. If they see someone that looks suspicious, call 911.”