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Auto thefts on the rise: Don't leave car running, not even for 'two minutes'

Posted at 10:55 PM, Aug 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-11 10:56:31-04

TULSA, Okla. — Not one but two vehicle thefts happened to Ashley Carter in less than six months.

Tulsa Police Department Sergeant Jack Ritter said there is an uptick in auto thefts this summer, much like they would see in the wintertime, because people are leaving their cars running.

Carter just wanted the air conditioner to stay on.

"I'm surprised at how quick somebody made that decision to take somebody else’s stuff," she said. "I forgot my mask, went back to the truck, grabbed my mask and went back in. I was probably in the store maybe two minutes. I was standing at the register and heard a car unlock. I turned around and looked and noticed my truck backing out.”

It happened around 11:30 Sunday night.

“The woman got out of her truck, walked by our truck, noticed it running, stopped, looked at her boyfriend, pointed at it. He shook his head yes. She got into the truck and drove off,” Carter said as she described what police told her they saw on the surveillance footage at the gas station.

Her dark blue 2014 four-door Dodge 1500 had paper tags, because Carter bought it just two weeks ago.

“They don’t know if… what I’m doing, if I have somebody at home that depends on the vehicle, which I do," Carter said. "My daughter, his mother, who is disabled, depends on us to get her to the doctors. We can’t afford that. We can’t afford another loss.”

Police call it a crime of opportunity. Carter left her doors unlocked and the car running.

Sgt. Ritter said, “People never intend to leave it for very long, but it doesn’t take very long. 10-30 seconds and it’s gone."

“I thought, ‘I’m going to be in QuikTrip for two seconds, I’m just grabbing some chocolate,’” Carter said.

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