By Kevin Deutsch
A Coral Springs rabbi was the victim of automobile theft at his family’s home early Sunday, the alleged thief stealing the rabbi’s van and crashing it before police captured him.
Rabbi Yankie Denburg, leader of the Chabad Jewish Center on Atlantic Boulevard, said his family was awakened at 2:30 a.m. by a Coral Springs Police officer banging on their door.
“Our minivan had been stolen from our driveway by a thief who had been driving another stolen car,” Denburg wrote in a Facebook post describing the incident. “They were looking for another opportunity when the security guard from the next development called the cops on their suspicious vehicle.
When they saw the police coming, the two fled on foot, and one jumped the fence into our development, eventually ending up inside my unlocked van,” the rabbi wrote.
As the van thief tried to drive out of the development, police spotted him.
“When they tried pulling him over, he drove straight into the back of another police car,” the rabbi said. “They caught the guy, but the front of our van was smashed pretty bad.”
Another police officer came to Denburg’s home to take his sworn statement and file criminal charges, he said. The rabbi’s van was towed to a body shop.
The accused thief’s name was not immediately available.
“Finally made it back home at 5 a.m. although needless to say, I couldn’t fall asleep for quite sometime after that,” wrote the rabbi. “Boruch Hashem, we are all safe and healthy. If my physical possessions needed to be smashed, I am happy it was done without anyone I care about being inside the vehicle.”
Denburg, who thanked police for their work, also encouraged residents to lock their car doors and take their keys inside.
“I haven’t yet figured out the spiritual, moral lesson from this ordeal (I have till Friday to think about it),” the rabbi wrote, referencing his next sabbath address.
In their own Facebook post Sunday night, Coral Springs Police thanked Denburg for his support.
“We are sorry to hear of the unfortunate events that affected you and your family, but we are also so very glad to hear that you are all safe and secure,” reads the post. “We want [to] thank you for helping us to remind our amazing community of how important it is to lock your vehicle and take all your valuables. We hope you were able to eventually get some rest.”
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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