Officers in Howard Beach locked up four teenagers early on Thursday morning who allegedly smashed windows and broke into at least six vehicles parked around the neighborhood, police reported.
In a post to its Facebook page, the 106th Precinct Community Council noted that the teenagers had allegedly stolen property from the vehicles. The council encouraged anyone whose vehicle was broken into to report it to the 106th Precinct immediately.
According to police sources, the teenagers were variously charged with committing at least four vehicle break-ins in the vicinity of 158th Avenue and 96th Street. Officers from the precinct’s Anti-Crime Unit responded to the location at about 2:30 a.m. after receiving a 911 call about a group of people acting disorderly in the area.
The responding officers were able to engage with the 911 caller and obtained a description of the perpetrators, according to Lieutenant John Zocchia of the 106th Precinct. The caller informed police that the group were observed attempting to enter several vehicles parked in the area.
Upon arriving at the location, sources said, the officers observed the teenagers attempting to enter a parked SUV at the location. Following a brief foot pursuit, police were able to take the suspects into custody.
Based on information obtained during a preliminary investigation, the teenagers were identified as the suspected burglars. They were found to have in their possession a number of items removed from at least six different vehicles in the area, from loose change to cellphones and even an iPad.
Zocchia told QNS that police were able to track down the owners of the burglarized vehicles and are working to return the property stolen from them. He not only applauded the work of the 106th Precinct officers in making the arrests, but also thanked members of the community for their assistance in making the arrest.
“It’s great to see the community working together to jump out and help us,” Zocchia said.
Law enforcement sources said the four individuals, who are between 16 and 17 years of age and reside in the Rockaways, face various counts of unauthorized use of a vehicle, criminal possession of stolen property, criminal trespass, petit larceny and possession of burglar’s tools.
Additional charges are pending based on the results of the ongoing investigation.
Police remind the public to always make sure that they remove valuable items from their cars before leaving them unattended, and to always properly secure their vehicles.