ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) — An alert from police – lock your cars because vehicle thefts are on the rise.
Police are warning drivers to pay closer attention – especially in Elizabethton.
That’s where police say in the month of July alone this year there have been 17 reported vehicle thefts. Some of those vehicles – unlocked with the car still running.
Police tell us from January to July 2018 – they had 47 stolen vehicle reports. Jump to 2019 in that same time frame – 75 stolen vehicles. We’re told these numbers include joyriding incidents and civil matters as well.
“8 out of those 17 – people have left their keys in their car with their doors unlocked,” Elizabethton Police Department Captain Shane Darling said.
Police recommend parking your vehicle in an open area close to other cars if you’re in a public parking lot and never leaving valuables in your car – let alone in plain view.
“We have not had any, you see in the movies where they bust the window out, pop the lock, hotwire it, none of that’s happening,” Captain Darling said.
Police say there are mot people looking for opportunities to steal your car as they work to crackdown.
“We have several that have been connected to one person and we’ve been able to tie them to, charges already been placed and some additional charges will be placed,” Captain Darling said.
Police said there’s no distinct pattern of where these thefts are happening. They’re all over town, but mostly in public places.
They’re still working 12 auto theft cases from this 2019 investigation.
The department also sent out a tip alert, saying many of these stolen vehicle incidents could have been prevented if the owners had not left the vehicle unlocked with the keys inside.
Police urge people to lock their car doors regardless of how long they will be away from the vehicle.
The tip alert also says many of the stolen vehicles have been returned and multiple suspects have been identified.
If you have any information that can help police – give them a call at 423-542-4141.