2005-04-07 / Front Page


Police from the 69th Precinct are concentrating on certain sections of the Canarsie area in a wide search for thieves who have been targeting Toyota Sequoia and Cadillac Escalade vans and robbing them of “third row” seats.

According to Captain Ralph Monteforte, commanding officer of the precinct, the thieves are apparently working just around Canarsie neighborhoods, as opposed to other adjacent precinct areas.

“So far, the thieves have hit at least eleven cars in separate incidents since January,” he said. “We feel that by notifying the public, especially those people who own a Sequoia or Escalade, they will be more careful and make sure their vans are more secure.”

The “third row” seats are called that because they are a two-seat section located behind the normal two rows found in vans. Monteforte said these types of seats — as opposed to the same types in vans made by other carmakers— are easily removable. He said the thieves have been known to sell them for as much as $4,000 or more on the Internet or to some surreptitious dealers outright.

The thefts have taken place after midnight in the Paerdegats, upper East 80s and on Avenue K and Avenue L, according to authorities.

“There’s no reason to feel that just those areas are the only ones to be hit,” Monteforte said. “They’ll go all over the area to get them if they have to.” He said car owners should make sure their car alarms are on and if they hear anyone else’s, they should immediately call 911.

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