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Police Search For Thieves Targeting Drivers With Flat Tires In Queens

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Police Tuesday were asking for the public's help in finding three suspects wanted in connection with 12 different thefts in Queens.

The incidents happened between Aug. 9 of last year and just this past Thursday. In most of the thefts, the victim is told by one of the suspects that he or she has a flat tire, and when the victim goes to investigate, the suspects steal items from inside the car.

The robberies happened in multiple areas of Queens, including Flushing, Broad Channel, Queens Village, South Richmond Hill and Sunnyside.

In many of the thefts, the victims were coming out of banks when the suspects told them their tires were flat. In some others, the victims noticed their flat tires themselves first, and accepted the suspects' offers for help as one suspect worked on the tire and the others looted the car.

The suspects varied their scheme in some of the thefts. In a couple of incidents, they allegedly sprayed something on the victims' jackets – identified by one victim as shaving cream. They then either stole items from the jackets, or convicted the victim to put the jackets down and stole the jackets when the victims weren't looking, police said.

And the suspects persisted even when the victims didn't accept their offers for help. On Feb. 21, a woman with a flat tire declined the suspects' officer for help and drove to a tire repair shop, but they followed her and offered to help again as they stole from her car, police said.

The latest incident happened this past Thursday in a parking lot on Northern Boulevard. Police have released surveillance video of two of the three suspects leaving the scene of that theft.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS, go to the Crime Stoppers Web site, or text tips to CRIMES (274637) and enter TIP577.

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