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Cops warn of thefts involving luxury cars, SUVs

Nassau Police interim Commissioner Victor Politi. (Dec. 18,

Nassau Police interim Commissioner Victor Politi. (Dec. 18, 2013) Credit: Howard Schnapp

A pattern of thefts involving luxury cars and sport utility vehicles has been detected not only in Nassau County but in the tri-state area, Nassau officials said Thursday.

County Executive Edward Mangano and interim Police Commissioner Victor Politi said the public should be aware that late-model Mercedes-Benz models and Land Rovers "with push button starts and key fobs" are among the luxury vehicles being targeted.

"The thefts are occurring at all times of the day and night in which the car has been left unlocked and the key fob left in a vehicle equipped with a push button start," Mangano and Politi said in a statement.

Police recommend that drivers always lock their vehicles and take their keys or fobs; never leave a spare key in or on your vehicle; park in a locked garage if possible; and secure garage door openers to prevent access to your home.

"Most important, we want to remind people when they are leaving or returning to their vehicles, they should be observant of cars and people who appear suspicious," police said in the news release. "Dial 9-1-1 and be ready to provide the police with as much information as possible regarding the description of the suspicious person or vehicle. License plate numbers are extremely valuable information for the police."

The warning comes just four days after police said they were searching for four suspects who pulled off a carjacking at gunpoint in Flower Hill Sunday night and later rammed a police cruiser in the stolen sport utility vehicle.

A 51-year-old man incurred a minor back injury in the carjacking of his 2013 Land Rover, which occurred about 9:45 p.m. near the intersection of Stonytown Road and Chanticlare Drive, police said.

The Land Rover owner, whose identity was not released, was driving when his vehicle was struck by "an unknown older-model, dark-colored" sport utility vehicle, police said. When the man got out to inspect the damage, police said, two of the four men in the other SUV "displayed handguns" and stole the man's wallet, jacket and key fob for the SUV.

The four then fled with the vehicle and cash, police said.

During their getaway, police said, the suspects "intentionally struck" a marked police unit near Northern Boulevard and Community Drive in Manhasset. The officer was not injured, and the suspect vehicle headed west on the Long Island Expressway.

Police said the stolen Land Rover was later recovered, unoccupied, on Queens Boulevard near the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in Queens.

In the news release Thursday, police did not say whether the case was considered part of the pattern.

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