A gang of car thieves targeting luxury cars and SUVs on the Jersey Shore hit Ocean City this week, with police urging homeowners to lock their cars at night and remove key fobs.
“We ask that you lock your car and carry your key fob because otherwise you endanger the safety of residents and officers. It’s a simple decision,” Ocean City Police Chief Jay Prettyman said in an interview. said in
Prettyman and Det. Lieutenant Steve Sullivan said Ocean City became the latest coastal community to be targeted by a North Jersey-based car theft ring when he had three luxury cars stolen in the early hours of Wednesday, September 21. said.
“It’s all the rage in New Jersey this year,” Prettyman said of the surge in stolen cars.
Sullivan, who is leading the investigation, explained that Ocean City, Avalon, Stone Harbor, Atlantic City, Margate and Ventner are among the coastal communities hit by auto-theft rings.
“They target luxury cars in really wealthy areas,” he said.
Ten cars have been stolen in Ocean City since the beginning of the year. Sullivan said he could link at least seven of those thefts to auto-theft organizations operating in Newark.
Police are asking citizens for help to catch a thief who stole three luxury cars early Wednesday morning on Mariana Lane and Spruce Road in Ocean City’s upscale Riviera neighborhood.
Sullivan said police were looking for home surveillance video from Mariana Lane, Spruce Road and Glenwood Drive between 12:30 a.m. and 2 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21.
In each case, Sullivan said the thieves stole unlocked cars that were parked in driveways, with keys left inside.
A homeowner on Mariana Lane called police shortly before 2 a.m. on Wednesday to say that two 2021 Mercedes G wagons parked in her driveway had several people dressed in black and wearing masks. I saw people breaking in.
The thieves then took off in both Mercedes SUVs and left the city. Police found his one Mercedes and tracked him down the Route 52 Causeway at over 100 mph towards Somers Point.
Police made the decision to drop pursuit of a stolen Mercedes in a high-speed chase because the situation had become too dangerous. Mann said.
The thief was able to escape. His one of the stolen Mercedes G wagons has yet to be recovered. According to Sullivan, another one of his was found after he ran out of gas on the Parkway in Egg Harbor Township’s Garden State.
“We are still looking for suspects,” he said.
Meanwhile, the third car stolen early Wednesday morning was a 2023 Audi S5. The Audi was stolen from a residence on Spruce Road, very close to where his two Mercedes G wagons were stolen at Mariana Lane.
Audi has not yet been recalled. The owner didn’t report the theft to the police until later that morning. Sullivan said the car was unlocked and the keys were left inside.
“I ask people to be diligent enough to get their keys out of their cars, and I also ask them not to leave their car keys in plain sight at the front door of their home,” Sullivan said. pointed out that some car thieves break into homes to steal car keys.
Police are also investigating several car robberies that may be related to the car theft ring that occurred on Glenwood Drive this week. Sullivan said his Cadillac Escalade and Mercedes SUV were broken into his 200 block on Glenwood Drive, near where the Mercedes G wagon and Audi were stolen.
A staggering rise in auto thefts across the state prompted New Jersey Acting Attorney General Matthew Platkin to form the Auto Theft Ring Task Force last March.
According to state police data reported by NJ.com, 14,320 vehicles will be reported stolen in New Jersey in 2021, a 22% increase compared to 2020.
Officials say luxury cars stolen in New Jersey are often shipped overseas by car thieves via the Port of Newark or used by gangs in drive-by shootings.
In August, Senators Richard Cody (D-Essex) and Anthony Bucco (R-Morris) introduced new laws targeting ringleaders to increase penalties for car theft and crack down on car theft gangs. Did.