Temperatures and car thefts up - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Temperatures and car thefts up

By Len Kiese - bio | email

July 14, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - As the summer heats up, car thefts are also rising. Hot wheels cases are keeping Albany Police officers busy these days. They're seeing a trend in certain areas and with certain types of car but they say anyone is a target. One Albany woman found out the hard way.  

It happened just like that. "It was really gone," said Angeline Bradford.

Bradford was like any other victim.  She never thought it would happen to her.

"No, no," said Bradford.

A little before she headed out for church Sunday morning, she discovered a sin took place right outside her door. "I looked and the car was not here. I looked in the back. The car was not there," said Bradford.

Her 1997 Honda Accord was stolen in the middle of the night as she slept only a few steps away. "It ticks me off that I work hard to get what I want and someone can just come and take it," said Bradford. It's happening all over the city.

"They've been pretty sporadic and mostly in the central and west district," said Albany Police Media Manager Phyllis Whitley-Banks.

Albany Police blame the summer season as part of the increase in thefts. "Detectives relate that to school being out during the summer months. With school being out, kids want to take joyrides and things of that nature," said Banks.

Thieves seem to be finding joy in certain types of cars. The 1996 version of Bradford's vehicle tops the list of the most stolen cars in Georgia. At number five is the 2000 Honda Civic. Albany's thefts are matching the statewide trend.

"In the past couple of weeks, detectives have noticed an increase in thefts of Honda Civics and Accords," said Banks. Because of rising thefts, people with all types of vehicles need to take steps to protect one of their most expensive valuables.

"We definitely warn them not to leave their keys in their car. Don't leave the car running for any reason. Even if you're going inside for just a brief moment, take time out to go on ahead and shut the car off, take your keys out and secure your car," said Banks.

Unfortunately tips won't help Bradford right now. She's still fuming. "There's no reason for people to go out and take what you've earned," said Bradford.

As a single mother, she worked hard to earn what thieves took away in a matter of minutes.

Bradford's vehicle was tan-colored with a sunroof and tinted windows.  She's hoping police or a citizen will spot it. She hopes to organize a neighborhood watch to prevent more crimes.  

Here's a closer look at Georgia's hot wheels:

1. 1996 Honda Accord

2. 1994 Chevrolet C/K Pickup 

3. 1997 Ford F-150 Series

4. 1989 Chevrolet Caprice

5. 2000 Honda Civic

6. 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee

7. 1999 Ford Taurus

8. 1994 Oldsmobile Cutlass

9. 2004 Dodge Ram Pickup

10. 1994 Toyota Camry    

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