Rochester Police sound alarm on car thefts – and ages of suspects

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Car thefts in Rochester aren’t new, but the ages of the drivers behind the wheel keep getting younger and younger.

And police say the moment they steal a car, they’re putting all of us at risk.

Tuesday night, police tried to stop a 2016 Cadillac, which had been stolen from Redline Transmission. The vehicle was stopped by police on Wilkins Street and “numerous” juveniles ran from the car. Three were caught.

“We’ve identified at least three individuals right now. Three juveniles: 13- and 14-year-olds,” Lt. Greg Bello said.

“But at the same time, the investigation continues because we know there’s more than three involved, and we’re looking to identify how many other people are involved, who else is involved,” Bello said.

On Wednesday, Rochester Police say two 15-year-olds were riding in a stolen car when they went through a stop sign just after 5:30 p.m. at Glenwood and Dewey avenues. They stuck another car, sending that driver to the hospital. The second car hit a third car. That driver was not injured. Police say the car was stolen in the city Wednesday.

Both were charged, issued appearance tickets for unlawful use of a motor vehicle, and brought home to their guardians.

A task force aimed at combating the rise in stolen cars was created following the fatal shooting of Richard Sciascia during a carjacking attempt in Gates back in July 2021. It has since disbanded.

“We have task forces that are set up all the time for different things, and once that specific trend, pattern, or spree is solved, then there is no reason for that task force to exist anymore,” Bello said.

That year, a car theft ring targeted both the city and several suburban communities.

“That group was pretty much all arrested, and pretty much all convicted, and, granted, juveniles at the time, but that was to target that specific group that one summer and that was handled at the time,” Bello said.

He warns people to be extra vigilant, but if someone tries to steal your car, don’t risk your life.

“Your life is not replaceable and injuries take a long time to heal from so really no property is worth that, and so obviously take care of yourself, and your personal safety is always going to be the number one priority.”

The 14-year-old boy has been charged with second-degree burglarly, criminal mischief, robbery, and grand larceny. His charges are in relation to a robbery on East Main Street and burglaries on Atlantic Avenue and North Goodman, and a commercial burglary at a Merchants Road restaurant this week. He was taken to the Monroe County Children’s Center.

The second 14-year-old boy has been charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and criminal possession of stolen property. He was issued an appearance ticket to Monroe County Family Court.

The 13-year-old girl has been charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and criminal possession of stolen property. She was taken to the Monroe County Children’s Center.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911.