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Thieves Net $13,000 In Three Car Break-Ins

Three break-ins within two days in bustling plazas

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.

Donna Brennan April 26, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Tracy, I'm sorry to hear you were robed as well, and twice at that in your own driveway. You bring up a good pint and that is to be vigilant of your surroundings. If something looks suspicious, don't don't be afraid to report it, it may just be doing someone a favor.
Donna Brennan April 26, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Billy, someone might think you were stupid for not locking up your money in the glove compartment of your car if you were robbed while walking around with $200.00-$300.00. Some people, might even view this as a lot of money. It's all relative. Maybe, this woman's $10,000.00 is equivalent to your $200.00. You don't know her economical background. Nor, do you of know her reasoning behind the decision to leave the money in the car. Just things to consider before hurling accusations about the victim in this robbery.
William Mays April 29, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Donna, as most of the people around here know, my economical status is pretty good. Doesn't mean I'm gonna leave 10k in my car. Also, a Q5 is a nice car, but rich people don't really drive around in those. That's more like an upper middle class car.
Toni M. April 29, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Economical means sparing in the use of resources or money. Odd that an "investment banker at GS" would get that wrong.
William Mays April 30, 2012 at 02:02 AM
Umm, I hope you realize that most wealthy people don't drive around with 10k in their bags. I know what economical means, and if you drive around with that much, you're really stupid.

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