Close to 20 high-end vehicles have been swiped from East End driveways over the past two months, prompting Southampton Town Police to urge the owners of such luxury vehicles to take precautions against the thefts.
Detective Sergeant Lisa Costa said the thefts—18 in total since June—occurred between the Village of West Hampton Dunes and Wainscott, and appear to be related due to patterns in the way they were carried out. Most occurred overnight, allowing hours to pass before they were discovered missing by their owners, she said.
Authorities said the thieves are targeting newer-model Mercedes-Benz cars, some valued at as much as $100,000, though less expensive BMWs and Range Rovers have also been stolen. In many instances, owners had left the vehicles unlocked with the keys inside, according to Sgt. Costa. She explained that the thieves are not damaging the vehicles while attempting to gain access to them.
“It’s a crime of opportunity,” she said.
In a press release issued earlier this week, Sgt. Costa asked residents to remove the valuables and keys from their vehicles, lock all doors, roll up the windows and turn on their alarms, even if they expect to be away from the vehicles for only a brief time.
Only three of the vehicles have been recovered thus far, and no arrests have been made in the thefts, according to Town Police.
Quogue Village Police Lieutenant Chris Isola said recently that one vehicle reported stolen from a home in the village in June was recovered a short time later in New Jersey, though he said he could not share additional details about that incident—such as how detectives tracked down the vehicle—citing the ongoing investigation. No arrests have been made in that incident, he added. Lt. Isola also noted that the vehicle, a 2013 Mercedes-Benz sedan, was returned to its owner in good condition.
“In any open case, there is always a hope and an effort to make an arrest,” he said.
Westhampton Beach Village Police have located just one of the four Mercedes-Benz vehicles that were reported stolen from homes on Dune Road between June and August, though Lieutenant Trevor Gonce declined to share where it was found, citing the ongoing investigation. The car has not been returned to its owner.
“Once they have them somewhere, it’s really tough to get them back,” Lt. Gonce said of the stolen cars, adding that it is critical for the owners to not leave the keys in their unlocked vehicles. “It’s not like they’re breaking into them and hot-wiring them or anything like that.”
East Hampton Town Police Lieutenant Detective Chris Anderson said that four vehicles, a mix of new Mercedes-Benzes and Range Rovers, have been stolen from his department’s jurisdiction this summer. None has been recovered to date.
“We are hopeful that we will make an arrest and bring this case to fruition, as we are in all cases,” he said.