Tires and rims have disappeared off cars parked around Malverne, West Hempstead and Garden City South over the past week.
So far thieves have swiped the parts from three cars in the area, jacking up the vehicles and leaving them propped on bricks and cobblestones.
The first two incidents occurred last week - one on Langley Avenue in West Hempstead and the other on Roxbury Road South in Garden City South. Both cars were made by Honda.
The latest larceny case happened late Friday night on Norwood Avenue in Malverne, just off of Cornwell Avenue. The homeowners had left their black four-door Nissan Maxima parked in their driveway overnight and awoke the next morning to find the tires and rims were gone. The car was tilted forward and held up with four stacked cobblestones.
"You can see they left the lug nuts," one of the homeowners, Marie Franco, said.
Cops who came to investigate the scene told her that the thieves were most likely after the car's aluminum rims more than anything, according to Franco. She said they explained that the criminals usually work in teams and perform the job quickly, almost resembling a NASCAR pit crew.
"This is the first time we had this occur in Malverne," said Malverne Police Chief John Aresta.
He suggested residents protect themselves by purchasing wheel locks, which he says are "relatively inexpensive," and install motion sensor lighting around their home.
He added, "They may be scared off."
A spokesman for the Nassau County Police said they have not received enough reports at this time to consider this a major problem, but did encourage residents to take steps to deter the thieves.
He suggested parking cars in well-lit areas, preferably off the street, as well as installing the motion-detecting lights and using wheel locks.
"They want to get in and out quick, so they'll tend to move along if they see a deterrent," he said, "but if they want a particular rim they'll work for it."
Both the Malverne and Nassau County Police also indicated that residents should report any theft or suspicious activity to them. If residents fail to notify authorities about cases like this it makes it difficult for them to identify the extent of the problem and what types of vehicles are being targeted.