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Village lieutenant urges residents to lock car doors and report suspicious activity

Village by: Chrissy Ruggeri, October 23, 2022

Lieutenant Tom Endee described at the October 18 Village board meeting a rash of vehicle break-ins, as well as an increase in catalytic converter thefts in and around Northport Village.

After a series of neighborhood vehicle break-ins, the Northport Village Lieutenant of Police advised residents to stay vigilant and lock their car doors at night. “There’s a group, maybe a couple of groups of people going around, breaking into cars and stealing items. They are going through the glove box and center console, looking for cash, jewelry, credit cards, and nothing else,” Lieutenant Tom Endee said at the October 18 Village board meeting “They’re in and out within 30 seconds.”

The break-ins are occurring between 2 and 5am, he said, and the perpetrators are using stolen car plates to hide their identity. He said there’s typically a driver with two to three occupants who get out, walk the entire block and check every car to see if any are unlocked. The best way to deter would-be thieves is to lock your doors, the lieutenant said.

“If your door is locked, they keep going,” he said.

Lieutenant Endee also suggested charging Ring or home security batteries to detect an intruder and capture video.

Additionally, there has been an issue of catalytic converter robberies, with two instances occurring in the Village, and many more reported throughout Northport and East Northport. A catalytic converter is an exhaust device beneath a car that contains rare earth metals, including platinum and palladium; it can be cut out quickly and discreetly. “Catalytic converters are worth a lot of money, so they go in there and hack up your exhaust,” Lieutenant Endee explained. If your converter is stolen, your “Check Engine” light should come on. While this is not a new issue (these car parts are commonly stolen from parking lots and train stations), there has been a substantial increase in the robberies occurring on residential properties.

According to a September 2022 article from Carfax, the cars most likely to have their catalytic converters stolen in the northeast are:

1985-2021 Ford F-Series
1987-2019 Toyota Camry
1989-2020 Honda Accord
2007-17 Jeep Patriot
1997-2020 Honda CR-V
1998-2020 Subaru Forester
2007-20 Subaru Outback
1990-2022 Ford Econoline
1999-2021 Chevrolet Silverado
1993-2020 Nissan Altima

The Lieutenant said that officers are vigilant through all hours of the night and have even chased two suspects away (one all the way to the Northern State). If you see anything suspicious, keep your house lights off so that you aren’t seen and call 911, he said. “We will be there in two minutes, anywhere in the Village,” he noted. Response times outside of the Village may be longer, but the same precautions are recommended.