Man charged with theft from unlocked auto

(Original publication: February 17, 2004)

The arrest Friday of a town man on charges that he stole items from parked cars has police warning residents to lock their cars after removing valuables.

Officer Thomas Carey was on patrol around 2 a.m. Friday when he saw a man walking on Putnam Drive near Warwick Road and stopped to question him. The man, Christopher Voelker, 23, of Knollcrest Road, appeared to check out, so Carey let him continue on his way.

Carey then drove along the path that Voelker had come from and noticed a woman's purse on the roadside. He turned back and found Voelker, who was still walking. Sgt. James Oster assisted and the two arrested Voelker.

The officers accused Voelker of stealing the purse and other property from an unlocked car parked in the driveway of a Putnam Drive home, police said. The officers then searched Voelker and found several stolen items in his possession, police said.

Voelker was charged with six counts each of fourth-degree grand larceny and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, both felonies, one count of fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and one count of petty larceny, both misdemeanors.

He was arraigned in Town Court and released on $250 bail. He is due in court Feb. 24.

Police Chief Donald L. Smith said the incident should remind residents to remove all valuables from their cars each night before locking the vehicles.

"Locking the car door prior to retiring for the evening is essential," Smith said.

Last year, Carmel police arrested a Mahopac man on numerous felony charges after several unlocked cars were broken into over several weeks and whatever was in them stolen. Smith said police from Kent and surrounding departments periodically see similar larceny sprees that could be avoided if people locked their cars.

Send e-mail to Terry Corcoran



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Wednesday, January 5, 2005