Altamont detective: Lock your cars

ALBANY COUNTY — Altamont Police Detective Christopher Laurenzo is warning villagers to lock their cars during Fair Week.

The Altamont Fair, which serves Albany, Schenectady, and Greene counties, runs this year from Wednesday, Aug. 18, through Sunday, Aug. 22.

Laurenzo, who has been with the department for 15 years, says that every year during Fair Week — save last year when the fair was canceled because of the pandemic — the police get calls about thefts from cars.

In 2019, he said, a car was stolen after someone had left their keys in it.

“I’m not trying to say it’s the carnies but the fair brings a lot of people to the village,” said Laurenzo.

He advised following what he said the city of Yonkers calls “the 9 p.m. routine,” which is to make sure cars are locked every night.

The targeted cars in Altamont, Laurenzo said, are those that are left unlocked as opposed to having someone smash car windows to gain access.

Typically, in Altamont, he said, loose change and currency is stolen from cars as well as GPS units, cell phones, computers, and headphones.

“I live out of my car,” said Laurenzo. “They could probably get all the information they wanted on me just out of my vehicle.”

The rest of the year, Altamont does not typically experience thefts from cars, he said. “Altamont’s a very trustworthy village. We like to keep it that way,” said Laurenzo.

He went on about local thefts from cars, “The town of Guilderland got hit. Bethlehem got hit.”


20 cars hit in one night

Guilderland Police continue to receive reports of thefts from motor vehicles during the overnight hours.

Recent reports have been received in the Fort Hunter area of town, which is in the vicinity of Carman road, a notice from the police said, asking anyone who has information on recent thefts or who has relevant home security video to call Investigator  Matt Hanzalik at 518-345-1501, ext. 1114.

Commander James Rexford of the Bethlehem Police said on Wednesday that several weeks ago unlocked cars in Bethlehem were targeted. In one night, he said, about 20 cars were hit.

The puzzling thing, Rexford said, was the thieves took change but “left behind the real valuables.” Some of the cars that were hit had laptops and iPads that were untouched, he said. “We’re not sure what’s going on.”

In the past, Bethlehem Police have dealt with identity theft, where thieves targeted wallets or purses, but not in the recent spate of break-ins. Also, none of the targeted cars last month were forcibly entered; there were no smashed windows, Rexford said; rather, the hit cars were all left unlocked.

“The day after we got hit,” said Rexford, “that night we tried to be proactive and catch them in the act; that night, Guilderland got hit.”

Rexford declined to discuss the measures Bethlehem Police had taken so as not to tip off the thieves.

No arrests have been made, he said, but added, “Our detectives are following up on some leads.”

Information, Rexford said, is shared with the Capital Region Crime Analysis Center. “They take all the crime information from the area to come up with trends,” he said. Local police stations can watch a broadcast all day long — Bethlehem Police do it at roll call and shift changes — to keep up with currently wanted suspects and warrants.

Rexford had this closing advice, “Keep your cars locked.”

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