The 79th Precinct is reporting a pattern of auto break-ins in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
According to police, the majority of the incidents have occurred in the area surrounding the intersection of Marcy and Myrtle Avenues.
The reported rash of auto break-ins began on March 5, 2011, at 995 Marcy Ave. Since that time, the precinct has received a total of 10 reports of broken car windows and/or missing items.
According to 79th Pct. Deputy Inspector Peter J. Bartoszek, locations identified as problematic for auto break-ins include Myrtle Avenue, from Nostrand to Tompkins Avenues; Tompkins Avenue, from Myrtle to Willoughby Avenues; Willoughby Avenue, from Tompkins to Nostrand Avenues; and Marcy Avenue, from Stockton Street to Willoughby Avenue.
On April 7, Bed-Stuy resident Michelline Chassagne was leaving for work when she discovered the passenger-side rear window of her car had been shattered and the detachable face plate of her radio missing. She was parked on the corner of Nostrand and Willoughby Avenues.
“For years, I had been throwing my little face-off radio in my glove compartment,” said Chassagne. She said the radio face was the only item she ever left in her car overnight, and that she thought that concealing it in the glove compartment would be enough to deter the curiosity of potential criminals.
“I’ve always been careful about leaving anything visible in my car,” said Chassagne, 38, who has lived in the neighborhood for the last four years. She said that prior to this incident, she had never had a problem with her car on the block. “But I learned my lesson—I will never again leave anything in my car, and that includes the glove compartment."
A neighbor who spotted Chassagne outside talking to police after her car was vandalized told police that three days prior, his truck also had been broken into, and that the vandal even tried (unsuccessfully) to steal his car seat.
Chassagne added that she had noticed an increase in the amount of broken glass along Nostrand Avenue, but she continued to park on the avenue because it didn’t have alternate side parking regulations.
The 79th Precinct reports incidents at the following locations:
- 3/5 Auto Break – In front of 995 Myrtle; cell phone stolen off front seat
- 3/14 Auto Break – At Myrtle and Marcy; no property taken
- 3/15 Auto Break – In front of 566 Willoughby Ave; radio stolen
- 3/19 Auto Break – At 700 Park Ave; cash and jewelry stolen
- 3/30 Auto Break – In front of99 Stockton St; massage table and EZ Pass stolen
- 3/31 Auto Break – At166 Nostrand Ave; car window shattered, no property removed
- 4/3 Auto Break – In front of 99 Stockton Ave; no property taken
- 4/7 Auto Break – On the corner of Nostrand Ave and Willoughby Ave; car window shattered and a car radio stolen
- 4/10 Auto Break – At Myrtle Ave and Marcy Ave; window shattered no property taken
- 4/10 Auto Break – At Marcus Garvey Blvd and Myrtle Ave; Tom Tom GPS stolen
Some residents are taking matters into their own hands by posting a note in their windows. Chassagne also now leaves a note that reads, “There are absolutely no goodies in my car. Dealing with a broken window and a vandalized car is no fun for anyone. Please be kind and move forward with your day.”
She said she hopes the note deters potential criminals. But her neighbor is skeptical. He related a story of a similar note his friend left, and he said the vandal broke the window anyway. He said the perpetrator then left his own note that said, “Just checking.”
The 79th Precinct stresses the importance of removing all property and valuables from the front and back seats of cars. Any property that is visible inside of an auto – particularly GPS’s, cell phones, cash, jewelry, even loose change – is a target for a criminal. Inspector Bartoszek adds that if anyone observes an auto break-in, please immediately call 911, and provide a description of the perpetrator.