Car thief steals Albany woman's car - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Car thief steals Albany woman's car

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September 6, 2007

Albany--Albany police need your help putting a car thief behind bars.  The victim he targeted says he ran from police after her stolen vehicle was finally located just a few days ago.

While more than half of all stolen vehicles are eventually recovered,  there are sever things you can do to make sure you don't become the next target of automotive theft

Every twenty-six seconds a motor vehicle is stolen in the United States.  Allison Haire is the latest statistic. In July, her 2001 Saturn Sedan was taken from Windover Apartments on West Gordon Avenue.

"My little sister left the keys in the car on the armrest. She didn't lock the doors or anything," she says. But she didn't find out the bad news until the following day. "The next morning when I got up to take my son to school, my car was missing," she says.

She called police and filled out a police report. Several months later, she found the car herself.

"Friday, I pulled up at the library right beside my car," she says. She discovered it here while visiting the Westtown Branch Library on Waddell Avenue. "I recognized my VIN number," she says.

She then waited in the parking lot until the person who took her car to begin with got into it. "Once he got in front of the car I was driving, he looked at me, and backed off, like I guess he knew me. He took off," she says.

"We're a little bit up this year. Some are gang related. Some are young offenders that are just doing something whether it's on a whim or a dare," says Dougherty County police chief Don Cheek.  He says so far his department has handled 24 cases of car theft this year.

"We had a spike in July. We had nine in July which is unusually high for the unincorporated county," says Cheek.

But there are measures you can take to make sure you don't become a target for car theft.

"Probably, the single most important thing to do is lock your car whenever you're out of it. Don't leave it with windows down.  We urge you please don't leave titles, don't leave your original tag receipts, in the vehicle particular the glove box," says Cheek.

And never leave spare keys anywhere in your vehicle.

"We're creatures of habit. We tend to hide things kind of with a pattern. Car thieves know people hide keys," says Cheek.

Haire, unfortunately had to learn her lesson the hard way.

"I've never known anybody to get their car stolen. When police checked the car. There was a gun under the front seat, and some other stuff, a letter with gang signs on it," she says.

And while she's thankful to now have her car back, she has a stern warning to other drivers out there. "Don't leave your doors unlocked for any reason," she says.

The person who stole Allison Haire's car remains at large. Police need your help finding him. He's described as a young, black man in his late teens or early 20's. Haire says he's short in height and dark skinned and has a shaved head.  If you have any information, you're asked to call Albany Police at 431-2100.

The top three most commonly stolen vehicles in the U.S are the Toyota Camry, the Honda Accord, and the Honda Civic. Most stolen vehicles are typically resold or are stripped for parts.

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