Suffolk Executive Steve Bellone and Acting Police Commissioner Risco Mention-Lewis said there has been an increase of car thefts in the county since Dec. 19, and all involved vehicles in which drivers had left the key or fob inside.   Credit: James Carbone

‘Tis the season to be jolly, Long Island officials said Thursday – so don’t ruin the holiday cheer by making it easy for thieves to steal your vehicle.

Eight cars have been stolen across Suffolk since Sunday, County Executive Steve Bellone and Acting Police Commissioner Risco Mention-Lewis said Thursday at a news conference in Hauppauge. Keys and fobs had been left in all of the stolen vehicles, sometimes in plain sight.

The holiday season, Mention-Lewis said, presents special opportunities for criminals.

"Thieves know people are preparing for the holidays, doing their shopping and are sometimes distracted," Mention-Lewis said.

Vehicle theft is down 6.2% in Suffolk this year, according to Mention-Lewis. But that is little consolation to victims of the latest string of vehicle thefts.

"Many victims of vehicle theft not only leave their cars unlocked, but they leave key fobs in plain sight, either on the passenger seat, the driver's seat or in the cup holder," Bellone said. "This allows car thieves to easily enter the vehicle and take off."

Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said vehicle thefts are down 7.1% in his county. The vast majority of Nassau victims had also left keys and fobs in their vehicles, Ryder said.

"The Nassau County Police Department continues to intensify patrols around all areas where we have seen an increase in vehicle theft and have made several arrests during the course of these investigations," Ryder said.

Mention-Lewis, acting commissioner until former NYPD Chief of Department Rodney Harrison assumes the job next month, said Suffolk police have beefed up patrols at malls and downtown shopping districts to dissuade or catch vehicle thieves. Additional patrols will also be on the lookout for drunken and drugged drivers, she said.

According to Suffolk police, the string of vehicle thefts began on Sunday, when a 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee was stolen from a home in East Northport. That vehicle was later recovered in Commack.

A 2019 BMW, a 2019 Acura and a 2009 Audi were stolen early Monday from residences in Fort Salonga, according to police. A 2020 BMW, 2020 Lincoln and 2017 Dodge were stolen from a Bayport residence on Tuesday.

A 2021 Chevrolet Traverse was also stolen that same day from a home in Huntington.

Bellone said that while it is tempting to warm up a car in the driveway during the winter, or leave it running outside a store while running a brief errand, it is an invitation to criminals.

"That gives lurking thieves an opportunity to steal, to potentially steal your car or other items," Bellone said. "That can turn a simple errand into a stressful situation and a costly situation as well."

Mama Chan's opens … Clean drinking water … Spring TV preview Credit: Newsday

Body parts found in Babylon ... Mama Chan's opens ... Clean drinking water ... What's Up on LI

Mama Chan's opens … Clean drinking water … Spring TV preview Credit: Newsday

Body parts found in Babylon ... Mama Chan's opens ... Clean drinking water ... What's Up on LI

Latest videos

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months
ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME