The Linwood Plaza mall on Fletcher Avenue is usually bustling with patrons at 4:20p.m., but the presence of shoppers and time of day did not preclude thieves from crimes of opportunity.
The owner of a 2011 Nissan Versa lost a Kate Spade diaper bag, a small digital camera, and a large Nikon camera with interchangeable lenses valued at approximately $3000 after a would-be-thief or thieves shattered the rear passenger side window on April 21.
“Unless you’re standing on the side of the car, you wouldn’t be able to hear the guy break the window because they just use a [window] punch,” said Fort Lee Police Captain Roy Bortolus. “The window just shatters and falls into the car. There’s no big mess.”
Approximately two hours later, another burglary was reported at the Palisade Plaza strip mall in the rear parking lot of the Bank of America at 154 Main Street off Palisade Avenue. After getting her nails done, the owner of 2011 Honda Accord found her passenger side window shattered and her Juicy Couture bag stolen from the front passenger seat.
The next day, at approximately 4:04p.m., a third break in occurred at the Washington Bridge Plaza mall parking lot at 2151 Lemoine Avenue. After shattering the rear driver’s side window of a 2010 Audi Q5, the crook made off with a Louis Vuitton bag containing $10,000 in cash and a large amount of jewelry.
Although property management of the Palisade Plaza strip mall and the Washington Bridge Plaza mall will tow anyone who parks and leaves the property, they do not have uniformed security personnel monitoring the lots.
But Bortolus believes shoppers are giving thieves convenient opportunities to “smash and grab” when owners leave valuables in their vehicles; many times in plain site.
“The woman in Washington Bridge mall went back to her car once and there was no problem, and then she went back again and found it broken into,” Bortolus explained.
While the recent rash of burglaries may or may not be connected, according to authorities, police hope members of the public will report suspicious activities and provide leads.
“We had this [situation] down in Hudson Terrace and eventually we caught somebody because people that live down there knew their cars were getting broken into and called us,” Bortolus said. “The public has to have their eyes open too. We can’t be everywhere – not with the depleting manpower.”
Anyone with information regarding the burglaries may contact the Fort Lee Police Detective Bureau at (201) 592-3510.