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Anyone old enough to drive and smart enough to know the difference between a donut and a bagel should be smart enough not to park a luxury car in a public spot with the keys in the ignition.
But apparently not. In the last two months, several people reported that their cars were stolen while they were making a purchase inside the Clintonville Road Dunkin’ Donuts in Whitestone.
Fortunately for the thieves, the shop is blocks away from the stolen-car super highway. For decades cars thieves have picked up cars in Queens and driven them across the Whitestone Bridge to chop shops in the Bronx.
In the case of luxury cars, the vehicles are often placed in containers and shipped overseas, where they are sold for more than their list price in the States and become virtually untraceable.
Normally car thieves have to jimmy locks, work around alarms and hotwire the vehicle. It becomes easier when the keys are left in the ignition.
The cars stolen outside the shop include a 2008 Porche Carerra, valued between $60,000 and $70,000, and a 2011 Mercedez-Benz CL63, valued at about $130,000. The Mercedes was recovered when a security device shut down the car on the Whitestone Bridge.
We were shocked the donut shop patrons told our reporter they continue to leave the keys in the ignition and leave the engine running while they dash in for their early morning fix. This is dangerous.
One man said he leaves his key in his Chevrolet Tahoe even though his uncle’s Porsche was stolen from the same location.
We confess we are skeptical and the police should be as well. The timing of the thefts and the value of the stolen cars stretch the limits of credulity. The insurance companies and police would do well to take a close look at the pattern emerging here.
Meanwhile, drivers will probably be surprised to learn that it is illegal to leave a car running. Police officers from the 109th Precinct say they are keeping an eye on the location and handing out summonses to violators.
Signs are posted on the doors of the Dunkin’ Donuts warning patrons not to leave their keys in their cars.
That really shouldn’t be necessary, should it?
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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