If you are a wealthy resident or visitor to the East End living or staying in what you think is a safe, gated estate, only to wake up one morning to find your luxury vehicle stolen from the property, you can’t blame the Southampton Town police. That department has been sounding the alarm all summer about such thefts.
As of mid-July, 12 high-end vehicles were stolen from outside private residences from Sagaponack to Tuckhoe since January. Similar thefts have occurred elsewhere on the East End, both recently and in years’ past. The thieves use the car’s key fobs left in the vehicles to start them and drive away.
September started where August ended, with two more thefts in the overnight hours of September 1, Lieutenant Susan Ralph said. In a press release sent out Wednesday, Ralph released the details of the two thefts: “The first vehicle, a 2016 Land Rover, was taken from a residence on Schewenks Road in Water Mill and the second vehicle, a 2019 BMW, was taken from a residence on Jacob’s Way in Sagaponack. In both instances the keys were left in the vehicles.”
It is the last point that particularly rankles Ralph. She has repeatedly warned throughout the course of the summer that an unlocked luxury vehicle, essentially, might as well have a sign on it saying, “Steal me.”
There are certain tell-tale signs that tell car thieves when a luxury automobile is unlocked, which Ralph does not want to discuss for obvious reasons. But it is the combination of leaving the car unlocked, and then hiding the key fob in car that drives the lieutenant to a point near apoplexy.
Ralph pointed out recently that the cost of these thefts, with some vehicles worth over $200,000, is borne by the rest of us, in the form of higher insurance premiums.
Steps that need to be taken by the vehicle owners, she said.
Lock your car at night, preferably in a locked garage. If a garage is not available, lock the car in an area protected by motion sensors and surveillance cameras.
In no case should keys or a key fob ever be hidden on a property. Never leave valuables in plain sight in a parked car. Make sure you have all passwords available for OnStar, she said.
If anyone in the public has had their vehicles tampered with recently, and the area where the car was tampered with is covered by surveillance cameras, Ralph asks that they contact Southampton Town detectives at 631-728-5000.