County-wide crime alert issued amid uptick in vehicle thefts

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The law enforcement agencies of Monroe County Thursday issued a county-wide crime alert amid a rash of vehicle thefts.

The alert, sent out by Gates Chief of Police and Monroe County Association of Chiefs of Police President James VanBrederode, outlines three different types of thefts that have become more common across the county.

The first often involves groups of three to six teenagers entering unlocked vehicles to steal items, and sometimes finding keys inside the vehicle and stealing it. VanBrederode said this often happens at night.

The second is carjackings — when victims are physically forced out of their cars or threatened with a gun or knife.

The third is when homes are entered through an unlocked door or window, the thieves find car keys, and drive off.

VanBrederode gave the following advice for county residents to avoid being victimized or seriously hurt:

  • If you are confronted with a weapon or physical force, surrender the vehicle. A car is replaceable, a life is not!
  • Leave outside house lights on during the night.
  • Keep your house doors and windows locked.
  • Keep your car locked.
  • Don’t leave a spare set of keys in your parked vehicle.
  • Don’t leave any firearms in your vehicle.
  • If you see your car dome light in the middle of the night or see anyone checking unlocked cars by walking up and down driveways, quietly call 911 and provide as much information as you can.

The alert comes just hours after three were arrested after a chase involving two stolen cars, and days after three boys were arrested for attempting to rob a woman at knifepoint in her home in Gates.

Carjackings have been persistent in Monroe County for most of 2021, with Law enforcement agencies first warning that they were becoming more prevalent back in April, and the death of 71-year-old Richard Sciascia during an attempted carjacking on Buell Road.

Friday, just a day after the alert was issued, Gates Police warned that an unlocked vehicle on Lori Lane was entered overnight and a purse was stolen. Just two weeks ago, Gates Police warned that two work vans on Lori Lane had tools stolen out of them.

Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley said there have been more car theft cases this year than in the past four. So far, in 2021 there have been 357 thefts — compared to 242 in 2020 and 336 in 2019.