Nashville drivers urged to Park Smart to avoid car theft

Last month, Ryan Moret says a thief got into his car, which he left running while he ran into the market, and took off within a minute (WZTV).

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The National Insurance Crime Bureau says today’s vehicles are loaded with expensive parts and technology that increase the costs of repairs, even in what may be considered a minor accident.

"Those expensive parts will continue to drive car thefts as criminals steal cars and trucks to strip them and sell the parts on the black market," says NICB.

Here in the mid-state each case is different, but drivers are urged to Park Smart.

The latest Metro Nashville Police Department's report says: "A review of stolen vehicle reports in Nashville from Sunday, February 18 through Saturday, February 24 shows that 62 percent of the automobiles taken (22 of 35) were easy targets because the keys were left inside or made available to thieves. Four of the 35 vehicles stolen were left running without the driver present."

Last month, Ryan Moret says he was on his way to his daughter's 8th birthday when he made a quick stop.

Moret says, "It was a Sunday afternoon and I pulled into the 4 Way Market (14th and Fatherland), where I've been many times. I left my car running to go in and buy a coke."

The East Nashville dad says the store's security cameras caught the thief getting into the car and taking off within a minute.

Moret says,"Even in that short period of time, somebody can be watching and make a move. When I came out, I saw someone driving off with my car."

After filing a police report, Moret says they're still looking for the criminal but not his car. He says, a detective called two days after the theft.

Moret says, "Saying they had found my car and they were going to dust it for prints and I could pick it up later."

Within a week, he received his car with minimal damage. Moret adds, a neighbor found items the suspect threw out, like his daughter's bag.

Moret says, "Luckily, they found that the day after my car had been stolen. I did lose a nice winter coat but all in all I thought I was pretty fortunate."

Drivers like Moret, can receive a citation according to state law, if they leave keys readily available to thieves and it's stolen.

Moret says, "Personally I was upfront with police officers about it, but I have heard of other people that have been less fortunate."

According to NICB: Thefts of vehicles in the U.S. rose again last year by more than 4 percent, according to preliminary 2017 crime data from the FBI. Many of the vehicles that are recovered are missing wheels and rims or other key parts, while ones that are never recovered end up in chop shops where they are quickly dismantled and sold piece by piece.

The police department’s continuing PARK SMART campaign strongly urges citizens to lock their automobile doors, secure any valuables and remove the keys.

Officers also urge citizens to shop smart by not leaving purses or other valuables unattended in shopping carts or in plain view in vehicles, even for a very short time. An unattended purse or wallet is an easy target for a thief.

Anyone with information on Moret's case should contact Metro Police or Crime Stoppers.

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