(PHOTO: WCPD aviation was flying over Rye Sunday night. Courtesy @MTAPD.)
If you heard a helicopter over Rye on Sunday night it was the Westchester County Police aviation unit (WCPD) assisting county and other PD departments to track two people in a stolen vehicle.
Rye PD has warned residents before about locking your vehicles at night. One of the reasons for concern is gangs, most of under age 15 – 18 year olds, who come down from Connecticut. These gangs have been stealing vehicles from communities across Westchester County and the problem is serious enough that there is task force of county and local police departments working on the issue. Last night, police were tracking one of the stolen vehicles from the Hutch, to I-287 and then south onto I-95. According to Rye PD, the two individuals exited I-95 on Exit 19 into Rye.
Westchester County Police, and other local police working on the task force on Sunday, all descended into Rye, including the WCPD helicopter. The stolen vehicle was parked on Elsworth Street off Milton Avenue, where the two suspects fled on foot and escaped. The vehicle has been recovered. The chase and aftermath dissipated after midnight.
The larger issue of these Connecticut gangs coming down across State lines is serious enough that the Feds are involved (as it is an interstate crime) but one of the many issues is since the gang members are under age, even if they are caught by police, they are often almost immediately let out of the system since they cannot be prosecuted as adults.
Rye PD believes its officers may have been shot at in previous pursuits. Rye PD will usually give chase to just over the Connecticut line. Recently, when an officer pulled over around Exit 2 in Connecticut the officer heard gun shots. In some of these chases, the police believe a second car follows to help assist the driver(s) of the stolen vehicle. A stolen vehicle will be driven to a remote location and left for two to three days until the thieves are sure there is not GPS tracking authorities are using to recover the vehicle. A number of cars stolen from the county have been used in drive by shootings according to police.
In May, a vehicle stolen from Rye was involved in a deadly police chase in East Haven, Connecticut.
What can you do? Don’t leave the keys inside your vehicles and lock them up at night!!