Southern Brooklyn

Under Cover Of Darkness, Precinct's Special "Midnight" Team To Combat Auto Theft And Vandalism

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This is just one of the many photos sent to Sheepshead Bites of cars with stolen tires. It was taken on February 20 by Sergey K. on Shore Parkway, a roadway frequently targeted by wheel/rim thieves.

Local car-owners feeling threatened by ongoing vandalism in the area, fear no more. Deputy Inspector Georgios Mastrokostas of the 61st Precinct recently launched a “Midnight Conditions Team” to catch criminals who steal or vandalize autos under the cover of darkness in the Sheepshead Bay area.

“We are targeting car-related crimes such as vehicle break-ins, graffiti, flattening of tires, stealing GPS, rim/tire theft, breaking mirrors and other illegal misconduct,” said Officer Amber Cafaro of the 61st Precinct’s Community Affairs Unit. “The officers in charge of this project are highly-decorated, have impeccable expertise and know what they are doing. The officers will try to figure out patterns and trends and will have people target a specific type of car.”

In the 28-day period covering the month of February, there has been a total of eight vehicle thefts in the area. During the same time period in 2010, there was a total of 12, down by 33 percent. But authorities note that the numbers are constantly fluctuating and don’t tell the full story. One thing is for sure, though: auto break-ins and vehicle-related property theft rank among the most common crimes in the precinct.

Despite the new nighttime patrol keeping us – and our property- safe while we sleep, Mastrokostas reminds the public not to leave valuables in your car or your car unlocked (which authorities say happens quite often). Change in the cupholder or a sign that a GPS might be in the vehicle – like the dashboard mounting clip – could give a thief incentive to break in.

The 61st Precinct Community Council meets tonight at 3093 Ocean Avenue at 7:30 p.m. The council offers residents the opportunity to speak with the deputy inspector and share concerns about neighborhood safety.

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