RARITAN TOWNSHIP — The 48 cars burglarized in the early hours of Tuesday in this Hunterdon County township all had this in common: the key fob was left inside or the vehicle was unlocked.

It's the latest in a string of car burglaries around New Jersey and is among the highest number of vehicles hit in one night in a single town. Raritan Township police Capt. Thomas Camporeale called it "stunning."

"They were basically all unlocked vehicles. Just checking door handles, they opened the doors and went in. If they found change they would scoop it up. It appears nothing of significant value was taken," Camporeale told New Jersey 101.5.

One car was stolen and the window was broken on another.

The break-ins all took place between 1 and 5 a.m. in a variety of vehicles.

"It's relatively easy if cars are left open. All you have to do is walk by. If there's any loose change and you're hitting 48 cars it's going to add up pretty quick," Camporeale said.

Photo by Alwin Kroon on Unsplash
Photo by Alwin Kroon on Unsplash

Camporeale said it wasn't yet known how many burglars were involved or how organized they were.

He suggested residents lock their doors, take their key fobs from their vehicle and report any suspicious activity.

Photo by Kashif Afridi on Unsplash
Photo by Kashif Afridi on Unsplash

Monmouth and Ocean counties have been especially hard hit by car burglaries and thefts over the summer.

Eleven cars were stolen over 30 days in August and September in Lakewood. Five cars stolen were in Barnegat the weekend of July 30. Jackson police reported 11 vehicles stolen on August 2. Holmdel police reported seven vehicles stolen in July. Several were burglarized in Millstone in August, according to State Police.

Photo by BezeVision on Unsplash
Photo by BezeVision on Unsplash

Vehicle Theft Prevention Tips from State Police include:

  • Ensure your vehicle is always locked.
  • Never leave a window open.
  • Ensure all valuables are kept out of sight.
  • Never leave your vehicle running.
  • Never leave your keys in your vehicle.
  • When parking, turn the tires toward the curb. This will make it difficult to tow.
  • Always use your emergency brake.
  • Park your vehicle in a well-lighted area.
  • Try to park your vehicle in attended lots. Criminals DO NOT like witnesses.
  • When parking your vehicle in an attended lot, always use your valet key.
  • Never leave the title or registration in your vehicle when it is unattended. A thief will use these documents to assist in selling your vehicle.
  • Disable your vehicle when leaving for extended periods of time, i.e., disconnect the battery.
  • Use locking screws on your license plate.
Photo by Dan Dennis on Unsplash
Photo by Dan Dennis on Unsplash

Whenever possible, use all available anti-theft devices to include:

  • Steering wheel locks
  • Window etching
  • Vehicle tracking devices, i.e., LoJack
  • Audible alarms
  • Armored collars around steering columns
  • Devices to disable the gas or brake pedal
  • Wheel locks
  • Gear shift locks
  • Hood locks
  • Fuel kill switches
  • Ignition kill switches

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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