Nassau police have arrested four juveniles in connection with a string of car thefts in western Nassau County targeting workers delivering Chinese food.
Suspects placed bogus calls to area restaurants for Chinese food, only to steal the worker’s idling car when he left it to knock on a door to deliver the food, police said.
While four arrests have been made, it is not clear whether all of the suspects have been caught, police said, adding that they are warning restaurateurs and residents of the disturbing pattern.
“We want to get the word out there,” said Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun, who held a news conference near the Henry Street location in Inwood where authorities found one of the cars that had been stolen in the latest of five successful attempts since late December.
LeBrun said Chinese restaurants that deliver food have also been targeted in North Woodmere, Franklin Square and Valley Stream. Five were successful and one was not, he said. In the unsuccessful attempt, the driver sensed the scheme and the suspects left the scene.
Officers are trying to visit all establishments that deliver food in Nassau County to alert them of the scheme.
“They may go to a pizza place next,” he said.
LeBrun said the motive in the heists is unclear.
In the most recent case, a 54-year-old delivery man from Happy Wok Chinese Restaurant on Rockaway Turnpike tried to deliver food Wednesday night to a Bernard Avenue home in North Lawrence. But when he arrived, he noticed the address didn’t exist and instead approached a neighboring home.
As he left the car idling, a suspect came out of a black minivan or SUV with Indiana license plates and jumped into the victim’s car, driving off, police said. The car was found later in front on Henry Street in Inwood, police said.
Police said the other thefts occurred on Strathmore Street in North Woodmere, on Dec. 24; Palmetto Drive in Franklin Square on Jan. 1; Janet Place in North Woodmere, on Jan. 1; and Gotham Street in Valley Stream, on Jan. 24.
Police ask anyone with information about the incidents to call Crime Stoppers at 800-244-TIPS.
With Joan Gralla