Between the hours of approximately 3:30am and 5:00am on Tuesday, October 6, a total of six cars were stolen in the Teaneck area, with many more ransacked by the perpetrators. The Teaneck Police Department began responding to calls from local residents around 7:30am when commuters left their houses to find their rides to work completely missing.
Both unfortunately and fortunately, one of the victims of the thefts is a member of Chaverim of Bergen County and was able to notify other members of the incident. Within minutes, ten members of Chaverim arrived on the scene to assist police in the investigation and comfort those affected by the crimes.
“We were looking around for cameras, so that we could let the police know which people might have footage of the thefts, and allow them to do their best,” explained Yanky Cohen, coordinator at Chaverim. “We want to show the community that we are there for them when they need us.”
Sol Itzkowitz, one of the heads of Chaverim Bergen County, emphasized that a lot of the grief and frustration over car theft could be saved with simple mindfulness. “These thieves know exactly what they’re doing,” he said. “There needs to be more awareness that locking your door and taking your keys with you would save you a lot of agony. At Chaverim, we’re trying to spread the message to the community and keep everyone safe.”
Deputy Mayor of Teaneck Mendy Schwartz drove home the same point for residents of the affected area. “The township is asking neighbors to check their Ring and surveillance cameras. That said, it appears that nearly all of the cars were open [unlocked], and several had their fobs left in them. Please, please, please lock your cars and remove your keys!”
According to Deputy Chief of Police John A. Faggello, the thefts were mainly of Honda cars. The police department is continuing to take reports from victims near Warwick Avenue, Churchill Road, and Winthrop Road.
Cohen and Itzkowitz warned that car thieves typically will continue onto neighboring areas in search of more victims—and that they may return to Teaneck in a few weeks. Accordingly, Chaverim of Bergen County is urging residents of the entire surrounding area to be on the lookout, and to make sure to call them if they need help.
“We can’t thank our members enough for helping the community in these situations,” said Itzkowitz. “Chaverim wants to serve as the eyes and ears of each and every resident of Bergen County."
As of Friday, October 8, Chaverim of Bergen County has reported that three of the six stolen cars have been recovered. Chaverim worked with the Teaneck Police Department and the local NYPD of Inwood where the cars were found in order to be returned to their owners.
"It's amazing...what a powerful team to be a part of," said Mickey Cohen of Chaverim about the recoveries.