HAZLET – Early this morning, around 5:15 a.m., a thief took off with a car left idling outside the Shell Station mini-mart, at Route 36 and Middle Road. The 2001 Nissan Altima disappeared down Green Grove Ave. into Keyport. Police were searching for the car all morning, and discovered it in Aberdeen around 11:30 a.m.
It was the third vehicle reportedly stolen in Hazlet so far this year. In each case, the car was left unlocked, with the key inside, according to Hazlet Police, who also shared these reports:
- On Monday, Feb. 4, a 2014 Acura was reported stolen from Kildare Drive in the Raritan Valley section sometime during the night. The car was parked in the street, the key inside, and the doors unlocked. A nearby unlocked vehicle was burglarized in the driveway. Fortunately the Acura was found abandoned in Newark the next day.
- On Wednesday, Jan. 30, a 2017 Nissan Pathfinder was reported stolen from its parking spot on Convent Court, off Holmdel Road, during the night. Valuables were stolen from another unlocked car, parked nearby in a driveway. It is still missing.
Police are urging residents to be defensive against car theft. “These are crimes of opportunity,” said Lt. Scott Mura.
It’s easy for a thief to check a door handle, scoop up items, or test to see if a newer vehicle can be started by pushing a button –the car will start if the key fob is nearby. Also, the mirrors of some cars, when locked, will be pinned back. If they are not, it can be a flag for a thief to try the door handle, and see if the car can be started.
“No one is hot-wiring cars anymore. It just doesn’t happen,” Lt. Mura said.
Neighboring police departments are also reporting an uptick in burglaries, Mura said.
In 2018, there were 16 reported car burglaries, and two car theftsinHazlet,accordingtopolice. On Nov. 18, a 2013 Hyundai Sonata was taken from Galway Drive in Raritan Valley. It was recovered in Newark a few days later. On Dec. 20, an employee’s 2017 Mercedes-Benz parked outside the T-Mobile store on Route 35 was stolen, and also later found in Irvington.
Police are investigating these latest incidents but do not yet have a suspect. If residents on Kildare Drive or Convent Court review personal surveillance video and find anything unusual, Hazlet Police would be interested to see it. Contact them at 732-264-6565.