Crime Tracker: Teens targeting cars

Crime Tracker

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — It’s been a dangerous and violent trend across Monroe County since Spring 2020; teenagers stealing cars.

Gates Police Chief James VanBrederode and Criminal Investigator Josh Bowman discussed the troubling trend Thursday.

“All across Monroe County we pretty much all have been plagued with stolen cars starting in the springtime,” VanBrederode said. “A stolen car and a gun seem to be the ‘in thing’ for the summer of 2021. That’s what we’ve been seeing and the level of violence that has come with these stolen cars has been absolutely astounding.”

In April a man was shot and killed during a carjacking. Two 16-year-olds are charged with his murder. Just days later, police arrested six teenagers after a car theft and chase.

By coordinating resources, police agencies are tracking the groups they say are stealing cars. Investigator Bowman says the challenge is — because of their ages — many offenders are taken into custody and then released.

“If we do happen to ID them and bring them in we have to call their parents and then we tell them not to do it again,” Bowman said. “And I’m seeing the next night we’re finding them again doing the exact same thing.”

Vanbrederode says the criminals are using three methods to steal cars:

  • physical force
  • casing neighborhoods for unlocked vehicles
  • breaking into homes to steal your keys

He encourages people to make sure they lock their car, downstairs windows and call 911 if you see anything.

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