Auto thefts up in Charlotte, thieves target vans, running cars - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Auto thefts up across Charlotte, thieves target vans and running cars

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

It seems like a no-brainer. Don't leave your car running while you run inside a convenience store --even if it's just for a few minutes. 

It's growing trend officers have seen over the past couple of months in University City --and thieves are taking advantage.

Rick Thompson, of Charlotte admits he's left his car running moments before being interviewed by WBTV.

"Yes I did," he said. "About five minutes, I went in there. Little Caesar's. But my car is still here, obviously."

But police say that just makes Thompson lucky.

Officers say it's this simple: you hop out, leaving your car running to dash inside -- and they jump in and drive away.

Still, Thompson defends his decision and says he'd do it again.

"I mean, I'm about like, 50 yards away and I can see," he pointed out. "And I look back every couple of seconds."

But his friend, Kadeam James disagrees, and says it's not worth the risk.

"They could be plotting on jumping in your car and taking it with them,' he said. "So just to be on the safe side, cut it off, take your keys and lock your doors."

But police say a running car is not the only thing thieves are targeting. They're also targeting Dodge Minivans.

Specifically in the Steele Creek division along the Arrowood Road corridor. Thieves stole the vans by punching the ignition, mostly from apartment complexes.

If you're wondering, why Dodge Minivans? One theory detectives have is it's easy for the thieves to transport stolen scooters.

While police are still looking for those crooks, there is some good news. They arrested three men last month for stealing cars left running outside convenience stores.

Police also pointed out that if they catch your car running unattended, you can be cited.

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