January 19, 2021

Thefts

Syracuse, N.Y. — Deputies have arrested about 25 juveniles during the past five months in connection with a slew of car thefts in Onondaga County.

The rash of thefts started in the middle of June, when deputies started receiving reports of kids breaking into and stealing from cars across the county, said Sgt. Jon Seeber, Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office spokesman. The crimes then escalated as young thieves stole vehicles — sometimes by slipping into homes and taking keys, he said.

Some of the stolen cars have been found abandoned in Syracuse. Others have been recovered at the end of police chases after the juveniles tried to flee in stolen vehicles, Seeber said.

READ MORE: Thieves spend night stealing 9 cars, one-by-one, from Cicero dealership

Detectives have charged about 25 juveniles — including a 12 year old — in connection with the thefts, Seeber. Some of the children have been arrested repeatedly, he said.

The most recent thefts happened Nov. 8, when teenagers spent hours stealing nine cars, one-by-one, from a Cicero dealership, Seeber said. Two teens were caught on camera breaking into Best Buy Auto Sales & Service and rifling through desks in search of car keys, he said.

The thefts have largely been “crimes of opportunity,” Seeber said: Residents who have left their homes or cars unlocked have been targeted.

As the thefts continue, the sheriff’s office has reminded residents to lock their homes and cars.

READ MORE: 4 teens arrested after driver crashes stolen car in downtown Syracuse, police say

Staff writer Samantha House covers breaking news, crime and public safety. Have a tip, a story idea, a question or a comment? Reach her at [email protected]

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UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio — The recent rash of car thefts in northeast Ohio has led Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan and Police Chief Dustin Rogers to ask residents to do a couple of simple things — don’t leave the key in the vehicle when it is parked, and keep it locked.

Rogers released Monday, during City Council’s online meeting, a statement from UHPD Det. Ben Feltoon pertaining to the thefts. Feltoon noted that, since mid-September, University Heights has experienced 13 vehicle thefts from residential driveways.

Car thieves, he said, have had an easy time of it while committing their crimes.

“The suspects that have been caught laugh about how easy people make it for them to be able to steal their car,” Feltoon wrote. “To date, 100 percent of the cars stolen recently in University Heights have been left unlocked and had the keys in the vehicle. This makes it extremely easy for criminals to steal from you.

“Please, please, please lock your cars,” the detective advised. “Even in your driveway. Even if you were just running in the house for a minute. Even if you have nothing in the car worth taking. Remove valuables, firearms, and car keys when you are not in the car. We need to stop giving these criminals the opportunity to victimize our community.”

Ten of the 13 cars stolen from University Heights have been recovered, Feltoon added.

“On our end,” Rogers told council members during Monday’s meeting, “we’ve been increasing our patrols, utilizing uniformed and plain clothes resources in the field to try to deter and intercept those that are (committing) these crimes, but is difficult for us to do to and be successful alone as an agency. We need to collaborate with the community, express to residents that when they hear something or see something suspicious to call the police department right away.

“To further enhance the communication and the awareness of this, our police department and office of community policing is collaborating with the office of the mayor to put out a mailer to our residents,” Rogers said. “More information will be forthcoming.”

As part of his daily COVID-19 email update on Nov. 12, Brennan wrote, “To be absolutely clear, we are not trying to ‘blame the victim.’ We are instead asking residents to help stop this crime spree.

“Do not make it easy for thieves. Please do not leave your keys in your car. Always lock your car. And do not keep valuables in sight of potential thieves.”

The UHPD dispatch center can be contacted at 216-932-1800, and 911 can be used for any situation that requires an immediate response from officers.

COVID precautions

During Monday’s meeting, it was mentioned that the popular Jack’s Deli & Restaurant, 14490 Cedar Road, would be temporarily closing for two weeks. On the eatery’s Facebook page, it is stated that Jack’s closed after an employee tested positive for the virus. Jack’s plans to reopen on Nov. 27.

“I imagine we’ll be seeing more of that

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prolific thief who stole a bike from a hospital worker during the pandemic in a “one-man crimewave” across London has been jailed for two years.  

Francis Graham, 26, toured the city, stealing bicycles from offices, specialist cycle shops, and one from the grounds of a luxury hotel.  

In July, he managed to get into a secure compound at St Bartholomew’s hospital to steal a bike from one of the workers.  

He has been linked to 11 bike thefts over the course of the last year, “tailgating” victims to get inside otherwise secure buildings, Kingston crown court heard.  

Jailing him for two years yesterday, Judge Jonathan Davies told Graham: “You were a one man crime wave stealing in a sophisticated way”.  

The court heard Graham has a catalogue of previous convictions for stealing bikes and had breached an existing suspended sentence.  

His latest offences started in October last year, when he stole a lock box and gloves from a BMW in east London.  

Graham swiped a £1,200 Brompton bike from The Lensbury Hotel, on the banks of the Thames in Teddington, on December 6 last year.  

On July 10, he got into St Barts hospital to steal a £250 bike, and took another cycle on the same day from a housing complex nearby.  

He was eventually snared when spotted stealing a bike by City of London Police officers in September, and was linked to other raids by CCTV and DNA evidence.  

Graham, from Bloomsbury, pleaded guilty to five counts of theft, five counts of commercial burglary, and one charge of theft from a motor vehicle.  

He was also handed a five-year Criminal Behaviour Order to try to curb his offending when free from prison.  

PC Aleksander Hancock from the Metropolitan Police said: “For many people living and working in London, cycling is their only form of transport. The inconvenience and upset caused by Graham in helping himself to the property of so many victims simply cannot be measured.  

“I am pleased that the efforts of my team, and our police colleagues at City of London, have afforded Londoners a well-earned rest from Graham’s criminal activities.”

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SOLANO COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) — Bicycles are in hot demand during the novel coronavirus pandemic and now it appears that thieves are taking advantage of that. A North Bay mom says her son’s bicycle was stolen out of their front driveway and she’s not alone.

“So basically my bike got stolen from the front of my garage,” says 9-year-old Sal.

While that might not seem like a big deal to you and me, for a 9-year-old who rarely leaves his home because of the pandemic, it’s a very big deal.
“Sad,” said Sal. Why? “Because it was a gift to me.”

His mom Sara Berdak says the bicycle was parked outside their garage and in front of a vehicle. She says the fact that someone just walked up and took it is frustrating.

“It’s been what nine months now and he hasn’t seen a single one of his friends and so the only thing he has is this bike ride,” says Berdak who posted online about the theft. She quickly found out that others in nearby communities have been victimized in recent weeks too.

On Facebook Melissa Moore wrote, “It happened to my daughter on Thursday and she was devastated.”

RELATED: Good Samaritans chase down alleged thief after woman robbed in SF’s Chinatown, leading to arrest

“I was blown away by how many people have been dealing with the same thing especially recently during the pandemic,” says Berdak.

Employees at several Bay Area bicycle shops say the demand for bikes during this pandemic is through the roof. Adults often have to wait for the bike they want and certain kid’s sizes are often limited. Officers say stolen bikes are usually crimes of opportunity and can be common.
Sal is hopeful that someone spots his Mongoose, saying part of the brake system is broken.

“If you see wires going down to the tires that’s its brakes and if it has a little wire popped off from one of the handles that’s it,” says Sal.

His mom Sara says while getting the bike back would be great it appears they will be able to buy a new bicycle. In 8 hours on Sunday, community members raised $275.00 so that Sal can get both a new bicycle and a new helmet.

“Unfortunately, today my son saw the worst of humanity but by the end of the day he’s also seen the best of it when all these people wanted to come through and help him out and do what they could to make his day better and it’s just been so amazing to see,” says Berdak.

Several employees at bicycle stores tell us that if your bike is stolen you should look online at sites like Craigslist to see if someone is trying to resell it.

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    New York (WCBS) — There is a nationwide shortage of bicycles because of the pandemic, but there’s also no shortage of thefts.

A stolen bike surge is now underway in the city.

“Inside Edition” launched an investigative report.

A CBS employee locked a $2,300 bike to a fence in lower Manhattan, then walked away, using hidden cameras to keep an eye on it.

About 40 minutes later, a man rolls up, and within seconds, he is seen cutting through the lock and stealing the bike.

What he did not see was the GPS tracker hidden inside the tire, allowing CBS to track down the bike to a building on West 32nd Street.

“It’s a theft of opportunity,” Jacob Priley said.

One Priley knows all too well.

He says in October, his $800 e-bike, parked right in front of his Brooklyn apartment, was stolen.

“The U-lock was cut, and my boyfriend actually noticed that it was gone,” Priley told CBS2’s Cory James.

The NYPD says bike thefts have gone up about 30% citywide.

Last year, between March 1 and Sept. 21, there were over 3,500 complaints of stolen bicycles and e-bikes.

This year, that number has increased to more than 4,400.

“Nobody wants to be on the train,” said Jeff Ortega, who works at Liberty Cycles in Hell’s Kitchen.

He believes that is one reason for the increase in bike thefts. He says each week, he has between three to five customers who come in after having a bike or bike part stolen.

But because of the pandemic, Ortega says the supply chain has dried up and most 2021 bikes are already sold out.

“There was only high-end bikes, and not everyone has high-end money to buy a high-end bike,” he said.

For now, Priley is carrying his new, less expensive bike up four flights of stairs to keep it safely stored inside.

Police say keeping your bike inside or locking the bicycle frame to the rack, and not just the wheel, can help prevent your bike from being stolen.

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