Tuesday, September 02, 2014

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Police Investigate Thefts of Wheels Off Cars in Queens

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TWC News: Police Investigate Thefts of Wheels Off Cars in Queens
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Cinder blocks where wheels and tires ought to be sounds like something out of The Flintstones, but car owners in Queens aren't laughing, and police are looking for the thieves responsible. NY1's Ruschell Boone filed the following report.

Can you imagine parking your car, then coming back to find wheels missing?

Joseph Webb said he's lucky he has more than one vehicle because two wheels were stolen off his SUV a month ago.

"I parked my car like that Saturday afternoon, and I woke up Sunday morning to go to church, and I saw the car sitting on cinder blocks," he said.

Webb said it happened in Hollis Hills, but as he was parking his car in Glen Oaks, he was stunned to hear that the same type of theft has been happening in and around this area.

Robert Friedrich, the president of the Glen Oaks Village Co-op, said that more than a half-dozen vehicles were hit in the last two months. He said that the thieves were caught on surveillance video, which he gave to police.

"It was too fuzzy to identify them, but we saw what happened," Friedrich said. "They go to the car, they loosen the wheels, then they leave. They come back a few minutes later when there's no other vehicles around, and it just takes a few minutes and all the wheels are off, and then they're gone.

Webb said that thieves loosened all four wheels on his Escalade, but lucky for him, they made off with only two of them.

The New York City Police Department isn't saying much about the thefts. When NY1 reached out to the department for comment, police said that the commanding officer is aware of the condition and is addressing the problem.

Friedrich went into more details.

"We've been working with the 105th precinct, NYPD 105th precinct," he said. "We have extra nighttime undercover patrols now taking place in the community. We're working on some other crime-fighting techniques, which I'm not at liberty to discuss right now, that we think may help us identify the culprits."

Webb is hoping that it happens soon because he said that it cost him $2,000 to replace the tires, along with the 22-inch rims.

Anyone with information on the case should contact the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS, or text CRIMES and then enter TIP577, or visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.

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