Three of the four cars stolen in West Hartford over the past several days were left running with the keys in them.
By Ronni Newton
There have been four cars reported stolen in West Hartford since Saturday, and in three of the four cases, the cars were left running with the keys in them.
Capt. Michael Perruccio said that Monday at 6:57 a.m., a Volvo was stolen from the Shell gas station on Albany Avenue in Bishops Corner.
“The complainant said that he left the vehicle running with the keys in it while he went into the convenience store for a short time,” Perruccio said. When the driver exited the store, the car was gone.
According to Perruccio, that vehicle was last seen headed eastbound on Albany Avenue. Additional details are not yet available, he said.
At 8:40 a.m. Monday, a Honda Accord that had been left running with the keys in it was taken from Highland Street. The vehicle owner told police that “someone jumped into it,” Perruccio said.
The suspects in Monday’s cases have not been caught, he said.
On Saturday, a man was charged after crashing a car in Hartford that he had stolen from the Shell gas station at the corner of Trout Brook Drive and Farmington Avenue. In that case, the driver had left the car running with the keys in it.
A vehicle was also stolen on Sunday from Crescent Street, Perruccio said.
The vehicle owner told police that he looked out the window at 3:05 a.m. and noticed the car was not in the driveway. He told police that he “thought the keys may have been in the car,” Perruccio said.
In the Crescent Street case the owner got lucky, because he actually found it himself a few hours later. Perruccio said the owner called Hartford Police at 8:34 a.m. Sunday after seeing his vehicle parked on Hazel Street in Hartford.
After ensuring that no one was in the car, Hartford Police returned it to the owner.
Other than the Crescent Street incident, Perruccio said that “there seems to be a pattern” of leaving keys in running cars, and it’s a pattern that’s common at this time of year when it gets cold.
“It’s an open invitation for people,” said Perruccio. Clearly it’s a lot easier to steal a car when it’s left running with the keys in it, he said.
People should never leave their cars running and unlocked at any time of day, even for a few moments.
Cars being stolen overnight, while left unlocked with the keys or key fobs in them, has been an ongoing problem in West Hartford and throughout the region.
West Hartford Police have recently been running a campaign on their Facebook page that they are hoping will help cut down on the number of people who forget to lock their cars in the evening.
The #9pmroutine reminders, posted each evening at 9 p.m., have been helpful in deterring car thefts in other communities, Perruccio said.
He encourages as many as possible to follow West Hartford Police on Facebook, and to share the #9pmroutine reminders as often as possible.
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