Police warn drivers after man has car stolen from gas station in seconds

Crime Tracker

Chris Thomas was at the Shell gas station on Gallatin Pike when a young man asked for help Wednesday night.  

“He asked me for some change,” Thomas said. “I didn’t have any on me.”  

Thomas says he was standing right next to his car parked out front. 

“I turned around just for a second, my car was running,” he said. “The door was open.”  

He says he took a few steps towards the store to ask if anyone else had changed and, within seconds, he says his car was stolen. 

“I turned around and looked, and my car was gone,” Thomas said.  

HIs 1997 silver Nissan Altima was gone along with about $1,500 worth of tools in the trunk, two cell phones, and his fiancĂ©’s purse.  

“It happened so fast,” Thomas said. “It was so quick.” 

Sergeant Henry Particelli with Metro Police says a few seconds is all it takes. 

“It’s a crime of opportunity,” Particelli said. “You give them a car with some keys, they’re gonna take it.”  

It’s a message he sends to drivers at gas stations where he hands out flyers and gives tips on how to avoid becoming a victim. 

“Secure your car at all times,” Particelli said. “Keep your keys with you, lock your doors.”  

He says about 50 to 75 cars are stolen every week in Davidson County, most with the keys left inside. 

It’s a mistake Thomas says he’ll never make again.  

“I’ll never leave my car like that again,” Thomas said. “If I have to, I will lock all the doors.”  

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