Marine Park becomes home for unlocked and looted cars

The Brooklyn Paper
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By Michèle De Meglio and Thomas Tracy

A man who motored through life by rifling through people’s cars was arrested for a string of thefts in Marine Park last week.

Police said that they apprehended the suspect on October 28, just hours after circulating a surveillance photo of the alleged perp at a Marine Park Civic Association meeting.

At the meeting, Officer Theresa McElroy explained, “In the past 28 days, we’ve had grand larcenies in this vicinity. We’ve had two.”

The crimes, she said, involved a man in his late 20s breaking into parked cars in the middle of the night and stealing valuable items.

“He’s going into cars at three in the morning and taking credit cards and things like that,” McElroy said.

In some instances, the victims unwittingly allowed access to their vehicles by leaving the doors unlocked and valuables visible.”

“Some people in this community have been leaving personal items, like credit cards, in their vehicles,” she said.

But by the 63rd Precinct Community Council meeting held the next night, the alleged car break-in artist, identified later as 27-year-old Anton Spivak, was behind bars.

Deputy Inspector Frank Cangiarella, the commanding officer of the 63rd Precinct, said Spivak was allegedly making a habit of breaking into cars in Marine Park.

But the thief’s alleged car raid rampage came to an end when a resident’s video surveillance system caught him breaking into a car.

Cops from the 63rd Precinct acquired the footage and printed out a snapshot of the suspect. A few hours later, the picture was faxed to all the precincts in Brooklyn South, Cangiarella explained.

“In no time we got responses from two different officers in two different commands identifying the suspect [as Spivak],” he said.

By the end of the day, Spivak was arrested back at his favorite hunting grounds -- Marine Park. Cops apprehended him allegedly breaking into a car on East 32nd Street near Avenue P.

Cangiarella explained that Spivak has been arrested 20 times before, mostly for committing car break-ins.

“The case has been flagged by the DA,” Cangiarella recounted. “They’re going to give it special attention.”

He added that while Spivak allegedly broke into a few cars, he mostly just checked door handles to see if the car was open.

“You wouldn’t believe how many times we’re told that the car was unlocked at the time of the break-in,” he said. “Once [Spivak] got in, he would take anything he could get his hands on, GPS devices, laptop computers, whatever.”

Marine Park Civic President Greg Borruso said he knows two people who had digital cameras, clothing, GPS systems and even loose change stolen from their cars. Both victims left their vehicles unlocked, he said.

“No matter how safe you feel in Marine Park, lock your car,” he advised. “Even if it’s in your carport.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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