Money-hungry thieves are targeting commercial vans and gym lockers in their search for valuable items, the commanding officer of the 104th Precinct told residents in Middle Village on Tuesday.
Captain Mark Wachter addressed residents at the 104th Precinct Community Council meeting. While he reported an overall decrease in residential burglaries, Wachter said the command saw a spike in vehicle break-ins, specifically with goods being stolen from work vans.
“If a van gets broken into, and it has tools or equipment that you use for a business, it’s classified as a burglary. That’s just how the law is written,” specified Wachter.
In the last three months, there were 19 incidents of work vans being broken into within the precinct. Wachter noted that perpetrators have targeted both vans marked with names of businesses, as well as plain white, unmarked vans. Popular stolen items include a variety of plumbing and construction tools.
“We’re actively investigating that. And it’s all over the command. It’s not one neighborhood in particular where this is happening,” Wachter said. “We’re working on some leads as we speak.”
Wachter also cautioned residents to be extra careful when placing their valuables in a locker at any local gym. He said that multiple incidents have been reported over the last few months at various local gyms, including the Planet Fitness on Wyckoff Avenue in Ridgewood.
“If you go to the gym, lock your property with a very good combination lock,” Wachter warned. He further advised residents not to use any of the lockers, adding that, “I would put my driver’s license, my credit card, my cash in a little plastic bag. Stick it in your socks, stick it in your shorts — it’s the safest way.”