Who steals tools from work vans? Burglary wave hurts utility companies amid pandemic
STATEN ISLAND, NY – Qasim Mohmood has lived in Meiers Corners since 2005 and has never had to worry about locking his car. Then on January 10, a pair of work trucks in its driveway were broken into as part of a borough-wide scheme that spread from the northern shores to the southern shores of Staten Island.
“Now I have security cameras installed,” Mohmood told Advance / SILive.com, pointing to several new surveillance cameras outside his home. “I’ve never had to install them before. “
Mohmood is one of the victims of a madness that has targeted at least 15 vehicles – tens of thousands of dollars in construction tools.
The burglary happened outside his home on Perry Avenue in broad daylight. “Both trucks were hit,” he said.
A truck was broken into before several power tools and a center console were removed, according to Mohmood. “The other truck, we don’t know how it got in. “
He speculated that whoever picked up the equipment watched his trucks in advance and knew when they would be left unattended and likely already had the means to sell the tools, which he said would otherwise be difficult to unload. .
For his business, Mohmood said stolen tools will be difficult to replace in the short term, especially when the business has been affected by the pandemic.
The series of heists “continue the difficult streak” over the past year, Mohmood said.
A few miles away, one of Anthony Kenny’s trucks was parked four days later on Caswell Avenue near Willowbrook Road in Willowbrook when thousands of dollars of tools were taken from him around 7 p.m.
Kenny’s company, Cam Energy Heating & Air Conditioning, serves all five boroughs, he said in a phone interview with Advance / SILive.com, and the burglary of one of his vehicles ripped off. ” a good $ 12,000, “although police estimated the total to be closer to $ 20,000.
One of Kenny’s employees who drives the truck said he did not know how the truck was broken into.
“Brand new” cordless jackhammers, drills and Sawzalls were salvaged from the back of the truck, along with a Rigid300 pipe threader – worth nearly $ 4,000 alone.
“I still haven’t replaced the Rigid300,” Kenny said, “and they took all the dyes and ratchets.”
The extent of the heist becomes clearer with each passing day, as his employees realize that more is missing in the truck.
“I just don’t like to think about it,” Kenny said. “Believe me.”
The first known incident of the burglary wave occurred on December 20 at around 2 p.m. outside a house on Elvin Street in Castleton Corners, according to a written statement from the NYPD Deputy Information Commissioner.
In the incident, an unidentified individual broke a rear door lock on a 2005 Ford E250 – a work van – and removed more than $ 800 from power tools, the statement said.
As of the end of December, six more incidents were recorded in the pattern, according to police, ranging from Graniteville and Bulls Head to New Springville. Power tools, including drills, were removed from various vehicles in residential neighborhoods, totaling thousands of dollars, police said.
The frenzy resumed on January 5, when an unidentified individual broke into a commercial vehicle on Arden Avenue in Arden Heights and removed various power tools, police said.
Seven other incidents have been recorded since then, according to the police statement, including another vehicle break-in where an unidentified individual smashed the window of a commercial pickup truck parked in the 200 block of Merrill Avenue in Graniteville and removed tools worth more than $ 12,300, police said.
The person wanted for questioning is described by police as a man who was seen wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, dark colored jeans and a mask, according to the police statement.
The man was driving a dark colored Nissan Altima.
The NYPD provided a photo of the man and a vehicle whose driver is wanted in the incident. Surveillance footage was taken from cameras near an incident on Woolley Avenue in Willowbrook.
No arrests were made on Monday evening, according to an NYPD spokeswoman.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the New York Police Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit advice by logging into the CrimeStoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM, on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls are strictly confidential.