Residents Deal With Recent Car Break-Ins

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Some village residents recently had the misfortune of having their cars broken into overnight, prompting the Nassau County Police Department to issue warnings to residents about how they can protect themselves from these types of thefts.

Donald Gunter

“Car break-ins are an ongoing issue in Nassau,” said Detective Vincent Garcia of the Nassau County Police Department. “It is a crime of opportunity. We put out media advisories, do press conferences, speak to media and post to social media on what Nassau County residents can and should be doing to minimize their risk of being a victim of larcenies from autos.”

Garcia urged residents to lock their car doors since a large majority of these incidents are occurring because vehicles are left unlocked. It was also urged to not leave anything of value in your cars.

Mineola resident Suzanne D’Avino said that on the morning of March 15, she realized that her car had been broken into.

“I approached the car parked in front of my house on Macatee Place and noticed that my sunglasses case was on the passenger side curb, which was odd because I had gotten out of the car on the driver’s side the night before,” explained D’Avino. “I noticed that the glove compartment and center console were open and most of the contents were emptied onto the passenger seat [also]. It took me a few seconds to process that someone had been in my car.”

D’Avino’s son had found a similar scene when he entered the family’s other car that had been parked in the driveway.

“Turns out both of our unlocked cars, one parked in the driveway and one in front of our house had been entered by someone who had went though many cars on our block and surrounding blocks early that morning,” said D’Avino. “I saw a police car around the corner and they told me that it had happened to a number of cars and they were investigating.”

D’Avino’s neighbor had a video of the thief and knew that he had been in his driveway at 5:10 a.m., something that D’Avino found disturbing since people are usually going to the gym or work at that time and could easily have ran into the thief—possibly having a serious confrontation.

The rash of car break-ins, however, might actually be over. Recently, the Nassau County Third Squad detectives arrested Donald Gunter of Brooklyn for multiple grand larcenies that took place within the North New Hyde Park and Mineola areas.

According to detectives, between Wednesday, March 13, and Tuesday, March 19, Gunter, entered multiple unlocked vehicles located in those areas and removed miscellaneous items left inside, which included debits cards, laptops and cash. In conjunction with the NYPD’s 105th detectives squad, Gunter was arrested on March 23 at his home.

Gunter was charged with three counts of fourth-degree grand larceny, four counts of petit larceny and one count of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He was arraigned in First District Court in Hempstead.

“The break-ins were disturbing, scary and too close for comfort,” said D’Avino. “Lesson learned, lock your car door, have outdoor lighting, be vigilant and communicate with your neighbors. The surveillance cameras and communication probably helped police make the arrest.”

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