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Paramus, Ridgewood Car Theft, Burglaries Prompt Police Warnings

The primary culprits: unlocked doors and waiting key fobs.
The primary culprits: unlocked doors and waiting key fobs. Photo Credit: Jerry DeMarco

PARAMUS, N.J. -- A stream of recent pre-dawn car burglaries -- as well as a car theft -- have Paramus and Ridgewood police repeating simple safety measures.

Several vehicles were entered and ransacked overnight in the owners' driveways in both towns, authorities said.

Why? All were unlocked.

Another vehicle was stolen from the South Paramus Road area in Paramus -- thanks to a key fob left in the unlocked car.

It's been happening throughout Bergen County not just for weeks or months but years.

"They're not breaking into cars," Detective Lt.  Edward Kane told Daily Voice recently. "The ones they take or burglarize are left open. Many have push-button starters -- people just leave the fobs in the center console.

"[The thieves] are simply going up to unlocked cars, getting in and driving away with them," he said. "Or they're taking all kinds of valuables."

Some vehicles vanish. Others are eventually found in and around Newark.

All are usually gone in 60 seconds.

"We constantly put the message out," one ranking police officer told Daily Voice. "But it keeps happening. Some people just don't get it."A Franklin Lakes resident last fall reported $4,100 stolen from his unlocked pickup truck, while another said someone took her Jeep -- after she left the key inside.

Police in Tenafly recalled the theft of an Audi A8 from the Knickerbocker Country Club after owner left the key fob -- along with $900 in cash and a cellphone -- in the car.

“Lock you vehicles," Franklin Lakes Police Capt. John Bakelaar urged owners, "and don’t leave valuables in them overnight."

Keep an eye out, as well.

“Call us even if you suspect someone may have entered your car looking for valuables but nothing was stolen,” Tenafly Detective Capt. deMoncada said. “We take all of these reports seriously, and information like this may be helpful in our investigation.

“We say it so often, but if you see something, please say something," deMoncada said. "These types of cases are often solved by someone who makes a key observation simply by being in the right place at the right time.”

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