Published: Jan. 12, 2023, 1:42 p.m.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — A video circulating on Staten Island allegedly shows an individual caught in the act of trying to steal a luxury car in broad daylight in a busy area of shops and restaurants near the Annadale train station.
The apparent getaway car, described by police as a gray Audi, matches the description of a vehicle seen near other recent thefts of luxury cars on the South Shore of Staten Island. However, authorities have yet to officially say the heists are part of a pattern.
A complaint report was filed for an incident at 12:25 p.m. on Monday at the corner of Sneden Avenue and Annadale Road. A 2019 Porsche was parked in front of the location and an unidentified individual was observed in the driver’s seat attempting to start the vehicle without permission, according to a statement from the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Information.
The individual fled in a gray Audi, police said.
The video that appears to be captured from area surveillance cameras at the same time and location shows an individual step out of a gray sedan, walk over to the Porsche and open the driver’s side door.
The individual sits behind the wheel and then appears to touch various controls on the dashboard. He then steps out of the Porsche on the driver’s side and looks over his shoulder as he closes the door.
The individual quickly returns to the gray vehicle as a man runs in his direction. The individual then drives away in the Audi.
GRAY CAR REPORTEDLY PRESENT DURING AUTO THEFTS
Detectives are investigating whether a gray car caught on video at an attempted carjacking in Pleasant Plains is connected to a brazen car theft at a business in Arden Heights as well as multiple other incidents involving autos in what could be a frightening “crime spree,” officials said on Wednesday.
It is believed the suspects in the recent incidents involving vehicles on the South Shore hail primarily from cities in New Jersey, including Elizabeth, Newark and Irvington, District Attorney Michael E. McMahon said during a press conference on the steps of the 123rd Precinct stationhouse in Tottenville Wednesday afternoon.
“These perpetrators drive into Staten Island in one vehicle, seek out high-end vehicles, and one by one, steal them and drive them back to New Jersey,” McMahon said. “Some are out for a joyride, some are out to use the vehicles to commit other crimes, and some are organizing [the cars] to be shipped overseas and sold on the international market for a large profit.”
He was joined by Borough President Vito Fossella, Councilman Joe Borelli (R-South Shore) and NYPD Deputy Inspector Andrey Smirnov, the commanding officer of the 123rd Precinct.
The incidents known at this time include a scary attempted carjacking on Jan. 6 at 1:10 a.m. on the 6200 block of Amboy Road.
A 24-year old man was leaving a store and was about to get into his white Infiniti when a vehicle described as a gray Audi with two males inside pulled up and blocked the Infiniti from the front. A male stepped out of the passenger seat of the Audi and pointed a gun at the victim in an attempt to steal the Infiniti, a law-enforcement source said.
However, the victim put the Infiniti in reverse and drove away.
Another recent incident was the theft of one car and the attempted heist of another car in broad daylight Monday outside a business in Arden Heights.
That incident occurred around 1 p.m. on the 1500 block of Arthur Kill Road near Muldoon Avenue, the NYPD said. The victims told police that they parked their cars in the parking lot of a business.
Then a vehicle, also described as a gray Audi, which was occupied by three unknown males, drove into the lot, according to a police spokesman.
Two of the males stepped out of the Audi and one drove away in a red, 2020 BMW owned by a 57-year-old woman, police said.
The other male also allegedly attempted but was not successful in trying to take a 2021 Mercedes-Benz, the police spokesman said.
‘HAPPY HUNTING GROUND’
According to McMahon, 126 vehicles were reported stolen from within confines 123rd Precinct in 2022 — up from 65 the year before. And across the Island, 513 vehicles were stolen last year compared to 282 in 2021.
“Simply put, these brazen punks are coming into our Island and they’re treating it as their happy hunting ground,” McMahon said.
The district attorney went on to propose “an aggressive plan of action” and called for raising the age threshold for when courts can treat an individual as an adult rather than a juvenile, legislation that would need to come from Albany.
McMahon went on to add that more police officers and detectives are needed on the Island as well as more inter-department and inter-regional cooperation with the Port Authority and MTA — specifically pointing out a need for license plate readers like those used on the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge.
“I know that we wish we lived in a time where we could leave our cars open and our doors open, but those times don’t exist right now,” McMahon said, directly addressing Staten Island residents. “Let’s make it harder for [criminals]. We call on all Staten Islanders to join us in an initiative to share their videos and tips.”