It was the night of May 17, 2021, when security cameras gleaned footage of brazen crooks who stole eight high-end, luxury vehicles from a Township of Irvington, New Jersey car dealership. After cutting the lock on the metal gate leading into the dealership with what appears to be bolt cutters, one of the robbers smashed the dealership’s office window with a shovel. This allowed two people to gain access through the window as the camera reveals clear shots of their faces.
The heist consisted of approximately 10 people, each with what appears to be a specific task to accomplish in a coordinated attack of the dealership. Two steal keys to vehicles parked in the dealership parking lot, distribute them to the others and then each vehicle is driven off the lot.
A total of eight vehicles were stolen over a five-hour time frame. To help thwart further robberies at the car dealership, Irvington Police parked an empty police cruiser outside the dealership’s lot, but to no avail. A few days later two robbers entered the office a second time, this time stealing what appeared to be a rather heavy safe with money inside.
Thus far, only one of the eight vehicles has been recovered – a BMW that had been found crashed and abandoned. A total loss of almost $200,000 resulted from this crime for the local business owner. Coordinated attacks are carried out each night across the country targeting high value vehicles that can be sold or used in other nefarious activities.
Auto Theft Increasing with Preference Given to Night
Looking back over 2020, the year COVID took over the world, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB) found that auto theft dramatically increased compared to 2019. In fact, the study found there were 873,080 auto thefts in 2020, compared to 799,644 in 2019. Every month during 2020 showed auto theft increases across a variety of locations and geographies.
Criminals prefer to steal vehicles from dealerships during the night, as demonstrated in the above scenario, perhaps because they feel “hidden” from watchful eyes. These types of thefts are also typically premeditated, meaning that those involved planned, coordinated or even scoped out a site before they strike. Because of this, criminals may know exactly where security cameras are placed; where the office to the dealership is located for quick access to inventory keys; whether the perimeter is gated; etc.
Watching Criminals and Taking Real-Time Action
Live video surveillance can act as an auto dealerships’ “eyes” when staff is off site so that immediate action can be taken when a potential problem is spotted. Stealth Monitoring’s team of trained security operators monitor multiple, strategically installed cameras in real time.
When a suspicious incident takes place, operators can immediately jump into action with a pre-determined set of instructions on how to appropriately mitigate the situation, the first of which can be an audible warning to trespassers.
If that audio warning doesn’t scare intruders away, remote security professionals call local dispatch to request and direct a police response to the site. As a professional monitoring company calling, police know we are watching a crime in progress and typically respond 3x faster than traditional alarm companies. In many cases, this results in responding officers arriving on the scene while the suspects are still on or near the property.