Vehicle thefts in Amsterdam has community concerned

AMSTERDAM, N.Y. — Over the last four months, Amsterdam Police tell NEWS10 they have dealt with more reports of stolen vehicles than they typically deal with in an entire year. 

They also tell us there's one thing that connects all the cases.

Ten cars and trucks have been stolen in Amsterdam since November, and in each case, police tell us the criminal didn't have to work too hard. 

Lt. Robert Richardson, of Amsterdam Police says, “In each stolen vehicle report that we've received, the owners of the vehicle have admitted that they left the keys in the vehicle, and it was unlocked.”

Neighbors of the victimized areas want answers, and some security. 

Jim Cleland, an Amsterdam resident living one street away from where some of the thefts allegedly occurred says, “It's neighbors you know, so we don't know who could have the nerve to do that.  All the streets here, we look out for each other.”

Cleland has lived in the city for years, but says the neighborhoods have changed. 

He says, “I don't leave my door unlocked anymore.  I used to be able to have people come in and out of my house, and I'm afraid of that now.”

Police have charges pending against one person in connection with two of the vehicle thefts, but are still looking for suspects in the 8 remaining cases.  Depending on the cost of the vehicle and any damage done, charges could range from possession of stolen property to grand larceny.

Lt. Richardson says, “A typical year we may have two or three throughout the year.  This is certainly on the rise and I think it's moreover, a crime of opportunity.” 

Police urge the community to make it harder for thieves: lock your car doors, and don't leave your keys inside.

All 10 of the vehicles stolen since November have been recovered, though since there's only one arrest so far, Amsterdam Police are still investigating all of the cases.

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