Yes, somebody tried to get into a lot of cars in Verona early Monday morning. No, we’re not in a crime wave.
According to the Verona Police Department, during the early morning hours of Monday, July 23, there were 26 vehicles entered and one vehicle taken from 19 different addresses, all in the Laning end of town. The VPD says that several West Essex towns have also experienced numerous vehicle entries over the last month, and that Verona’s Detective Bureau is working with the West Caldwell Police Department because there are “similarities” in the physical appearance of the person who has been active in both towns.
Early Monday, 26 vehicles were unlawfully entered in the Laning Area and 1 was taken. @VeronaPolice is sharing this video of a suspect and urging residents to lock their cars at night. pic.twitter.com/0tvbcFVKz7
— MyVeronaNJ (@myveronanj) July 24, 2018
Acting Chief of Police Christopher Kiernan says that there was no forced entry in any of the Verona incidents, all of which involved cars with unlocked doors. He says that several video clips from home security systems show the suspect walking up driveways and pulling on car door handles and continuing on, if those doors were locked.
“We can not stress enough that you have to lock your doors,” Kiernan says. “This one actor has not made any forced entry thus far. When he comes across a locked door, he simply moves on.”
Kiernan notes that the VPD’s midnight shift has been involved in several motor vehicle chases the last few weeks, which he says have deterred potential burglaries. “The officers have been very diligent in keeping the streets safe overnight, but these type of entries only take seconds,” Kiernan added. “Please lock all doors. Harden the target.”
Though the car entries have alarmed some residents, crime in Verona remains a rarity. According to the VPD, prior to this incident, there were only two other vehicle entries reported in 2018. Data included in the New Jersey State Police Uniform Crime Report for January through June 2018 show no aggravated assaults, no burglaries and no motor vehicle thefts. There were five reported larcenies for the first half of 2018, up from two in the first half of 2017. For all of 2017, there was one forcible entry and one attempted forcible entry, as well as 11 larcenies, but no other crime. Larceny is just another word for theft, and is used when no force is involved.