Officer thwarts Christmas-morning car theft

Officer Carlos Santoro’s Christmas morning consisted of unexpected paperwork – after the arrested a man allegedly attempting to steal a vehicle during his midnight shift.
For his efforts, Santoro was awarded “Cop of the Month” honors at the 106th Precinct Community Council Meeting, on Wednesday, January 12.
“As 2010 came to an end, our biggest fight was against Grand Larceny Auto (GLA.),” said Captain Thomas Pascale, Commanding Officer.
While on patrol at approximately 6 a.m., Santoro arrived at 149th Avenue and Lefferts Boulevard and found a man in a Dodge Caravan. The man was in the driver’s seat, fiddling around with the steering wheel, according to Santoro. After Santoro told the man to raise his arms, the man dropped a silver object that was later identified as a tool. Santoro then proceeded to make the arrest.
The 30-year-old suspect has been tied to other incidents of auto theft in the area, according to Pascale.
“There were five cars taken within a two-block radius, so it is very possible that it was this person,” said the captain.
The 106th Precinct has talked with the precinct where the suspect lives in regards to the crimes, according to the captain.
Pascale urged attendees of the meeting not to leave their vehicles running and unattended because auto theft is still a problem in the community.
“We still struggle with auto theft. Do not leave your keys in the car for a cup of coffee because you are making an opportunity,” Pascale said.
Attendance at the meeting was very low due to the snowstorm that occurred the day before, but one complaint also involved vehicles.
A woman said that there are seven cars parked on her block without plates and they have been there for over two months.
“I have been living in this neighborhood for over 40 years. I have never seen anything like this,” said the woman. “We need places to park.”
The complaint was associated with a similar problem from a year ago and police said the issue would be addressed immediately.
Old business addressed in the meeting included suspected drug activity in the area and gang activity at J.H.S. 226 on Rockaway Boulevard.
There will be no Precinct Council meeting in February.

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