If you live in Howard Beach, Ozone Park or Lindenwood, police are cautioning that you keep an eye on your car — and be wary of where you store your wheel lock key.
There has been an increased number of thefts in rims and tires from late-model Nissan Maximas, Honda Accords and Toyota Camrys, police said.
Thieves have allegedly been taking tires from cars, on the side that does not face the owner’s house, so drivers may not notice until they are already in the vehicle. Police said one of the main problems is car owners storing their wheel lock key in the glove compartment. Because of this, police said, passenger side windows may be broken to get to the key. While it is a convenient place to store it, vandals have broken into passenger side windows to look for the key, police said.
Anthony Panarella, executive manager of Nissan of Queens in Ozone Park, said car owners should go to their dealer to get the auto-manufactured wheel lock, as opposed to going to a place like Pep Boys, where each wheel lock has the same key. A dealer-made wheel lock, he said, has its own unique key. If lost, the dealer has to break the lock and install a new one.
“Whatever brand your vehicle is,” he said, “go to your dealer and purchase your manufacturer wheel lock.”
One of the dealership’s cars was broken into last week. All four rims and wheels were stolen and the passenger-side window was broken into.
If someone is going to keep a wheel lock key in the car, Panarella said, they should keep it somewhere safe other than the glove compartment or center console.