Police warn rise in vehicle thefts often tied to unattended, unsecured cars and trucks

West Virginia

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. (WDVM) — Police are on alert for a rise in auto thefts, most recently of vehicles left unattended with the engine running.

Authorities feel it may have something to do with our predictable lifestyles – behavior patterns — during the pandemic. There are so many delivery couriers climbing out of their cars and trucks with packages and food deliveries. All of these unattended vehicles are, what police call, targets of opportunity.

“You should effectively shut off your engine and remove the keys when idling your vehicle. Set the parking brake before leaving your vehicle. Don’t leave an unlocked, unattended vehicle. If you leave your keys in it with it running you could be charged for that. People running into the post office quickly, running into a convenience store and leaving their vehicle running and then come back may find their vehicle’s gone,” says Cprl. Casey Yonkers, Shepherdstown’s police chief.

Police say thieves are not just targeting commercial drivers. Ordinary motorists are just as vulnerable.

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