Holmdel residents warned to lock vehicles, garages in wake of thefts


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HOLMDEL — The deputy mayor of Holmdel is advising residents to lock their vehicles and their homes in the wake of several recent incidents involving vehicle theft.

During the Aug. 9 meeting of the Township Committee, Deputy Mayor Prakash Santhana reported there have been five vehicle thefts in recent weeks and 16 attempted vehicle thefts in the same time frame.

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In three of the five instances of vehicle theft, according to Santhana, the suspects entered the homes from which they were stealing the vehicles as they searched for the key fobs that were needed to start the vehicles.

He advised residents to lock the doors of their vehicles and their garages, and not to leave key fobs in their vehicles.

“These incidents are not unique to Holmdel. This is happening throughout Monmouth County and the state,” Santhana said.

During the public comment portion of the meeting several minutes later, resident Jay Yannello responded to Santhana’s report and said, “The crime is unsettling. You can’t leave your keys on your kitchen counter anymore. What are we doing about this?”

Santhana said the Holmdel Police Department is placing additional officers on the night shift. He said police department administrators want residents to know they are taking that specific step.

There are other measures being taken by police to address the situation that will not be disclosed to the public, according to the deputy mayor.

In other business during the meeting, Township Engineer Bennett Matlack provided an update on a planned bicycle path in the community.

Matlack discussed two phases of the project. He said a conceptual plan has been completed for Phase I from Holmdel High School on Crawfords Corner Road to Cross Farm Park/Wilson Boulevard.

Holmdel has received a $114,000 open space grant from Monmouth County to help fund Phase I.

Matlack said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection permitting will be required on certain portions of the planned route, including a permit relating to wetlands. The permitting process can take six to eight months, he said.

Phase II of the bicycle path will be from Wilson Boulevard to the Bell Works property.

Matlack said discussions are underway with representatives of Bell Works regarding access issues.

He said one challenge designers will face during Phase II will be devising a way to replace an existing set of stairs on the planned route with a ramp that will permit bicyclists to easily traverse that section of the path.

The project’s designers will also have to review permitting needs on this section of the planned bicycle path, according to the township engineer.

Matlack said Holmdel’s representatives are preparing to submit an application to Monmouth County seeking open space funding for this portion of the project.

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