Police are advising Newarkers and University of Delaware students to be vigilant after a recent increase in vehicle thefts in the city.

In one week, six vehicles were stolen, according to Lt. Andrew Rubin, a spokesman for the Newark Police Department. Only two have been recovered.

All the thefts happened overnight in areas dominated by student rental homes. In some of the instances, the vehicle was stolen using a spare key that had been hidden inside the vehicle.

“The public is reminded to lock their vehicle, park in a well-lit area and not to leave a key to the vehicle inside,” Rubin said.

Authorities have already made one arrest, charging Derrick Sudler, 40, with burglarizing a North Chapel Street home Sept. 23 or 24, stealing a set of car keys and driving away in a 2015 Mercedes 350. The car was recovered undamaged in Elkton, Md.

A Newark officer reviewing surveillance footage identified the suspect as Sudler, who was arrested in Elkton on Sept. 28 and charged with second-degree burglary, theft of a motor vehicle and theft under $1,500. He was released on $6,000 unsecured bail.

Meanwhile, charges are pending against a second man who was seen driving a Subaru Legacy that had been stolen from the unit block of West Park Place on Sept. 25 or 26, Rubin said. The vehicle was later recovered at a motel in New Castle.

Rubin said detectives are still investigating whether those men were involved in any of the other thefts. Surveillance footage shows that multiple people were involved, but it’s not yet clear whether they were working together or if the thefts were isolated incidents, he added.

Meanwhile, police released descriptions of three men who were caught on surveillance cameras at the Christiana Mall using credit cards that were inside a VW Jetta that was stolen from outside a home in the 200 block of South Chapel Street between 8:30 p.m. Sept. 23 and 11 a.m. Sept. 24.

The first was a black man, 20 to 25 years old, about 6 feet 1 inch tall, with short dark hair, a thin build and wearing a dark Calvin Klein windbreaker. The second was a black man, 20 to 25 years old, between 5 feet 3 inches and 5 feet 5 inches tall, with a thin athletic build, tattoos on both hands and wearing a dark sweatshirt with New York City or Nike written across the front. The third was a black man, 20 to 25 years old, between 5 feet 4 inches and 5 feet 5 inches tall, heavy set, with short dark hair and wearing a gray shirt with white lettering across the front.

The other thefts include:

• A gray 2017 Jeep Wrangler, Pennsylvania tag KGN5115, was stolen from in front of a home in the unit block of Benny Street between 10 p.m. Sept. 21 and 6:30 a.m. Sept. 22. A spare key had been left inside the locked vehicle.

• A silver 2001 Honda CRV, Delaware tag PC181138, was stolen from outside a home in the unit block of East Cleveland Avenue between 12:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. Sept. 22.

• A blue Chevrolet Cobalt, NJ tag ZSB76W, was stolen from outside a home in the unit block of Prospect Avenue between 11 p.m. Sept. 27 and 11 a.m. Sept. 28.

Prior to the recent theft spree, Newark had seen 31 auto thefts in 2019, down nearly 25 percent over this time last year.

Anyone with information about the thefts is asked to call Det. Daniel Bystricky at 302-366-7100, ext. 3136, or dbystricky@newark.de.us.

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