May 30, 2014 By Michael Florio
Cars and motorcycles are being stolen in Astoria at a much greater rate this year.
This year, through May 18, there have been 74 stolen autos/bikes compared with only 55 for the same period last year, according to figures released by the 114th Precinct, which covers Astoria.
In the past 28-days, there were 25 reported stolen vehicles/bikes compared to only nine for that period in 2013.
Thieves have been targeting motorcycles as well as Ford Econoline vans, said Deputy Inspector Kevin Maloney, at the 114th precinct meeting Tuesday.
Eight motorcycles have been stolen in recently, she said, six of which occurred near Astoria Park. The majority of these motorcycles thefts have occurred over night.
“We suspect the [thieves] are loading them into vans or tow trucks and driving off with them,” he said. “It is a crime that happens pretty fast.”
Maloney said some motorcycle owners have chained their bikes to a pole or street light, but that’s nothing a cutter can’t break.
Maloney said the precinct has been alerting motorcycle owners in the area about the problem.
Maloney said the Ford Econoline vans are a popular vehicle for thieves since they are easily stripped down for parts. The parts are interchangeable in models of this van going back the past 10 years.
While auto/motorcycle theft is on the rise, the precinct said that the number of burglaries reported has started to come down– a number that was very high earlier this year. In the recent 28-day period through May 18, there were 24 incidents reported, compared to 30 for the same 28-day period a year ago.