Joy riders steal car for second time and wreck it -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Joy riders steal car for second time and wreck it


By LeiLani Golden - bio | email

Bainbridge, GA (WALB) –Some late night joy riders stole an elderly couple's car in Bainbridge not once, but twice in less than two weeks.

The second time police chased the suspects who wrecked and got away.

The victims have lived in the neighborhood their whole lives. But now they worry criminals are taking over.

Leandres Florence is the proud owner of this Buick Le Sabre.

"It was a good car. Ain't nothing wrong with that car," he says.

But that all changed after some thieves decided to take it for a joy ride. Friday morning, Florence called 911 to report his car had just been stolen out of his backyard. A police officer on patrol noticed the car and followed it.

Police chased the car into this area called the Woodyard where the suspect crashed the vehicle. And it wasn't the first time the Buick ended up here.

Just twelve days earlier, crooks stole Florence's by picking up a spare set of keys his wife had forgotten to put away. Police returned the car after someone found it abandoned at the Woodyard. But the crooks still had the keys. And some people believe fellow neighbors are hiding the suspects' identities.

"By not speaking up and saying this person has this man's keys and has stolen a car two times, we're saying it's okay for you to come and steal our cars. We're not gonna tell on you." neighbor Andrea Stewart points out. "We have to speak up and say enough is enough."

Now, Florence is losing faith in the community he's known all his life.

"That whole thing changed my mind about the community cause I know it's going down. I could put the keys in the bushes. Ain't nobody's business coming onto my property to steal keys."

And some neighbors agree.

"I really believe after living in New Jersey for 27 years and having experienced high crime rates and car theft and carjacking among young children, that's something Bainbridge doesn't want to welcome," warns Stewart.

So they're hoping someone will come forward and put an end to the increasing crime before it becomes the norm.

Police recovered the set of keys stolen from Florence's house after the suspects wrecked his car.

He may not need them anymore. Florence plans to buy a new car if the Buick is totaled.


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