WASHINGTON TWP., N.J. - With the holiday season in full swing, police are on high prowl as they warn the public of heightened thefts-- from catalytic converters, to holiday presents.
Police are saturating local neighborhoods with patrols after they say thieves hit multiple developments, looking to get into people's cars over the holiday weekend.
Washington Township Police Department posted a warning to Facebook on Sunday after Chief Patrick Gurcsik said at least seven neighborhoods in the township were targeted by thieves.
"Our reminder last night just telling people to lock their car doors," said Chief Gurcsik. "We had eight reports over the weekend. It was a busy weekend for us."
Police shared images from the Ring security app, which captured the thieves dressed in hoodies, roaming people's driveways after dark. The thieves were checking for unlocked car doors, and police say they even got away with stealing catalytic converters. The Chief says one of the catalytic converters thefts happened in the Surrey Lake neighborhood.
"It's sort of astonishing that they're now going into people's driveways and making these attempts," said Chief Gurcsik.
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An older model 5 series silver BMW is what police say the thieves used as the getaway car in some of these cases.
Steve Kempton, the Vice President of the neighborhood HOA in Washington Township, says it's "disarming" to hear crimes like this is going on within his community. He says the best thing anyone can do is keep an eye out for your neighbors.
Chief Gurcsik agrees as he reiterates the mantra, "If you see something, say something." He also is encouraging people to follow the police department's suggested "9 p.m. routine" every night.
"Lock your doors, bring key fobs in, put lights on outside, lock the fence gates, and call us right away before posting on social media," he said.