Nassau County police are investigating whether the theft of a car left idling in Roosevelt on New Year's Day is connected to a rash of similar crimes in West Hempstead.

Dewayne Green, 17, of Roosevelt, was arrested Thursday after a man told police he spotted his wife's stolen 2005 Ford Expedition on Hempstead Turnpike.

Green was arrested after officers stopped the car on Stewart Avenue in Hicksville, police said.

The sport utility vehicle was stolen shortly before 2 a.m. on Jan. 1 while it was idling to warm up the engine outside a relative's home, according to police. The wife, 38, had left her purse and wallet inside, police said.

Green was arraigned Friday in First District Court in Hempstead on charges of grand larceny and driving without a license. Records show he was conditionally released to probation.

Detectives are investigating whether Green may be connected to the theft of three other cars -- also left idling outside residences -- on Thursday, according to police spokesman Insp. Kenneth Lack.

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The thefts occurred between 5:15 and 6:44 a.m. -- all within a mile of one another in West Hempstead, police said.

Lack advised residents against leaving vehicles idling and unattended this winter. The practice attracts thieves and actually is against the law, he said. Owners can be issued tickets.