NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Three cars were stolen within 24 hours at one gas station in Antioch, and they all had one thing in common.
An employee at the Thortons off Bell Road told News 2 that all the cars had the keys inside.
He also says this has been a problem at the gas station, that 10 cars have been stolen in the past three to four months.
Despite the “Park Smart” signs posted on the door, drivers continue leaving their keys in the car, and thieves are taking advantage.
Early Saturday morning, a Chevy Malibu was taken just seconds after the driver walked away from the pump.
We spoke to the victim’s mother.
“The crazy thing about it, my son was right behind her and he drove around, and two seconds later, somebody had jumped in the car with a ski mask and drove off,” she explained.
Car thefts continue to be a city-wide concern. More than 2,600 cars were stolen in the Metro area in 2017, up nearly 50 percent from 2016.
And so far this year, the numbers aren’t looking any better. In the first 20 days of 2018, 234 cars were reported stolen, an average of about 11 cars per day. That number is up more than 37 percent from this time last year.
The Thortons employee also told News 2 he thinks it’s the same group of teens that continue to target their customers. He says they are looking at hiring extra security to keep an eye on the parking lot.
The thieves were all caught on surveillance video, but police have yet to release it.
Metro police say from Jan. 14 through Jan. 20, 81 percent of the automobiles stolen were easy targets because the keys were left inside or made available to thieves. The department also says more that 80 percent of stolen cars are recovered.