Franklin woman victimized by car theft learns it can happen even in safe neighborhoods

Crime Tracker

Just a few weeks after Deborah Petersen moved from Brentwood to a condo in Franklin, her car was stolen right from her driveway overnight.

“I come out to leave for work about five till 7:00 a.m. and the car was gone,” Petersen said.

That was April 23rd. Petersen tried to retrace her steps from the night before; she had been busy unloading groceries.

“You get distracted; I don’t remember if I locked it back,” she said.

Peterson knows she didn’t leave her keys in the car, so the thieves may have hot-wired it. Fortunately, she had unloaded all her valuables and sensitive documents from her move, but understandably, she still felt uneasy.

“Just the thought that your garage door opener is in that car. It’s unsettling just to know that there were folks that were that close to your home and in your driveway, and you feel like a target,” she said.

The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office said Petersen’s stolen older model Volkswagen Beetle was involved in at least one more auto burglary. The thief, or thieves, then abandoned the car on the Vanderbilt University campus, but they forgot something.

“When they were done they left the car in the parking lot, but they also left the latex gloves in the front seat,” Petersen said.

Law enforcement has to process the gloves and any other evidence before Petersen can get her car back. She said she has learned a lot about keeping her guard up everywhere.

“I felt completely safe. I didn’t think (it would happen in) my neighborhood, (the car) wasn’t visible from any major roads,” Petersen said. “You have this false sense of security.”

Although this experience has been unnerving, Petersen is grateful she wasn’t there when the car theft happened.

“There are so many things to be thankful for,” she said. “At least it’s just a car.” 

Whether Petersen keeps her car when its returned or gets a new one, there is one thing she will always remember.

“My first thought: lock my car, my second thought: Did I lock my car?” she said.

Petersen urges others to do the same. She also advises everyone to check their auto insurance policy. You may incur costs if your car is stolen and your policy doesn’t cover a rental car, towing and impound lot fees. 

Click here to learn more about car theft in our area and what you can do to stop it. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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