MAHWAH, N.J. – You have no one to blame but yourself if you leave your car door unlocked with a key fob inside and it’s stolen, authorities said after a car thief went to the trouble of maneuvering a 2016 Mercedes Benz S550 from the driveway of a Mahwah home.
“It was parked in front of another vehicle, and the thieves had to maneuver the car from between the garage door and the vehicle it was parked in front of,” Police Chief James N. Batelli said.
The Fardale neighborhood homeowner “does not recall if the key fob was left in the vehicle at the time,” Batelli said.
However, the chief said, in most cases owners with push-button ignitions leave their fobs in their cars or SUVs – with the doors unlocked.
Police believe the theft is part of a large-scale, high-end luxury vehicle theft ring that has been plaguing North Jersey – particularly Bergen County -- for several months.
In one study, New Jersey had the third-highest amount of cars stolen after California and Florida (New York was rated fourth), Batelli said.
Mercedes Benz is frequently rated in the top 10 of brands targeted, he added.
The thieves are dispatched by ringleaders who ship vehicles overseas, where they can be sold at a huge markup, the chief said.
The same night the Mercedes was stolen, someone broke into a Land Rover nearby. There was no key fob inside, so the thief or thieves and swiped some items and left the vehicle behind.
“Remove valuables, lock the door and remove the keys,” Bastelli emphasized. “Be smart Be safe. Prevent car theft.”