Tisbury police investigate thefts, joy rides at park and ride lot

The Tisbury Park and Ride lot has been the scene of recent criminal activity. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Tisbury police are investigating recent thefts and joy rides involving vehicles at the Park and Ride lot off High Point Lane.

“People should not leave their keys in their cars and should not leave their cars unlocked,” Tisbury Police Chief Dan Hanavan warned in a phone conversation yesterday.

Officer R. Natichioni responded to a report of theft at the Park and Ride lot on Tuesday morning. Detective Mark Santon provided assistance.

They spoke with an electrician who said he parked his van at the lot and locked it at noon on Friday, September 9. The man said he returned to his van around 8 am on Tuesday to find it had been broken into and his tools stolen.

According to Officer Natichioni’s report, the thief used a large piece of cement, found underneath the van, to force open the front vent window on the driver’s side door in order to unlock it. The van’s other doors remained locked.

Officer Natichioni noted that in another incident at the Park and Ride lot over the weekend, two suspects were arrested by Tisbury police officers for unauthorized use of motor vehicles and thefts from motor vehicles. His report said Detective Santon concluded the two cases might be related.

Chief Hanavan said police also caught juvenile suspects driving a vehicle around the Park and Ride lot around 1 am on Friday, September 9. “I give my officers credit; they check the Park and Ride lot on a regular basis,” he said.

Chief Hanavan said officer Joe Ballotte happened to spot a car driving around with its lights off when he pulled in to patrol the lot that morning.

“The kids were checking cars for keys, and then took them for a ride for a few hours and came back and parked them in the same spaces,” Chief Hanavan said.

It might have gone unnoticed, except the joy riders tripped up. A man phoned the police department at 2:40 pm on Friday. He said he thought someone had driven his car, because although it was parked in the same place, his keys were gone, Chief Hanavan said. Plus, someone left behind a metal sports water bottle on the front seat. Officer Jason Marathas retrieved the evidence and gave the gentleman a ride to the Steamship Authority terminal.

Later that afternoon, one of the youths involved in the Friday morning joy ride came to the police department voluntarily for an interview. Although he identified the water bottle as his, he denied being the driver and provided additional information, Chief Hanavan said.

Detective Santon continues to investigate several open cases that may be connected. If anyone has any additional information, contact the Tisbury police at 508-696-4240.