LINDEN - The unrelenting New Jersey winter beating up on state roads and highways has had yet another side effect.

Linden police say thieves are propping up parked cars and stealing tires and other parts right off the vehicles in the Sunnyside neighborhood.

In one case, thieves broke into Eleanor Novalany's car, took out the jack and spare tire, and then used that equipment to take the wheels off a car at the house next door. 

Pat Birch is keeping her car in the garage. "I think it's terrible," she says. "I mean people, they don't know what to do with themselves."

Anthony Wohlrab, who lives around the corner from where the thieves struck, is shocked by the thefts. "Crime doesn't happen here," he says. "We live in Sunnyside, one of the best parts of Linden." He has installed wheel locks on his car.

Police say tires and rims have become more in demand as drivers scramble to replace those damaged by potholes. They've asked residents to be on the alert for suspicious activity.

Thieves could be driven to steal custom rims and wheels and sell them for much more than they're worth, police say.