LONG ISLAND - Brazen car thefts have been taking place in broad daylight at gas stations across Nassau County.
Four separate incidents have occurred within the past month, according to police who are investigating if they’re related.
"Individuals are coming from New Jersey and targeting Nassau County," said Chief of Detectives Christopher Ferro with the Nassau County Police Department.
Police say the men are going after high-end cars and SUVs.
A woman filling up at the 76 Gas Station in Glen Head was dragged several feet as a man took off with her Range Rover last month.
Suspects are also wanted for car thefts at two BP stations in Roslyn and Mineola. In one theft, the suspect even tossed a dog from the window, leaving him paralyzed.
And on Sunday, a suspect stole a Mercedes from a Shell station in Westbury, ripping the hose off the pump and getting into an accident before fleeing the scene.
"Unfortunately we shouldn’t be talking about this, but there’s a pandemic of lawlessness, and we need Nassau residents to make sure this doesn’t happen again," said Nassau County Legislator John Ferretti.
According to Nassau County police, the number of stolen cars has continued to increase in the last few years. In 2021, they were 561 car thefts, 968 in 2022 and 23 cars have already been reported stolen this year.
"Most of the cars were stolen with keys in the vehicle and 159 were left with the vehicles running," Ferro said.
Officials are reminding drivers to be aware when filling up, turn off the car and take the key.
Police are looking into possible ties to New Jersey where the majority of cars have been located.