New York Daily News
6 car thieves nabbed in a Zip in B’klyn
They were gone in 60 seconds — but a group of teenage car thieves were tracked down and busted soon after they stole four Zipcars from a Brooklyn garage thanks to the vehicles’ GPS systems, police said Monday.
The six suspects, 17 to 19 years old, were issued desk appearance tickets and released after being charged last week with criminal possession of stolen property.
They were nabbed after a Zipcar worker showed up early Thursday evening at the 90th Precinct stationhouse in Williamsburg to report that four Zipcars had been stolen from a 24-hour garage, on Bartlett St. near Broadway, where the rideshare company rents space.
The employee told police the cars — two Honda Civics and two Honda CR-Vs — could each be tracked on his laptop because they were all GPS-equipped, said NYPD Lt. Shaun Tanner.
“He opened up his laptop and opened four different windows,” Tanner said. “It was actually pretty cool.”
One of the cars, left unoccupied in a garage by Yankee Stadium, was disabled remotely by the Zipcar employee, Tanner said.
The three other cars were moving, so Tanner alerted cops in several commands in upper Manhattan and the Bronx.
Tanner said one suspect was nabbed after parking by Fort Tryon Park in Inwood. Three others, double-parked on Edgecomb Ave. in Harlem, were arrested when cops blocked them in. And the other two were in the Bronx, but then drove into Washington Heights and were grabbed at a red light at St. Nicholas Ave and W. 173rd St.
All six feigned innocence, Tanner said.
“‘It’s my friend’s car,’ ” Tanner said they told him. “None of them took ownership.”
It wasn’t clear if the suspects took cars that were unlocked or somehow compromised the Zipcard that legit renters use to unlock the vehicle by placing it over the reader affixed to the windshield.
Regardless, Tanner said the GPS made it pretty easy to find the suspects.
“I was amazed how accurate the GPS was,” he said. “All we had to do was hit refresh and it showed them moving and where they were.”
A Zipcar spokeswoman said the company does not comment on pending cases.