Car thefts spike in St. Petersburg

60% of the time car was unlocked with keys inside
Posted at 6:20 PM, Nov 09, 2017

It happened to Sieekndh Anummukonda...he left his car door unlocked inside the gated community of Carillon Villas in St. Petersburg.

"They didn't take anything, my car is empty," he says.

After a weekend spree of auto thefts, the warning went out to residents of Carillon Villas that car crooks are on the prowl. 

And it's not just car break-ins, but stolen cars are also a threat in St. Petersburg.

Police have reported 20 auto thefts last week alone. And 60 percent of the time, the car was either unlocked or the keys were in the ignition.

People who think they can run a quick errand by dashing in and out don't realize all it takes is 60 seconds and your car is gone.

Dee Thompson always locks her doors, but that didn't stop the thief from stealing her car right out of her driveway.

"Lately we’ve been having a ton of car thefts," she says.

The latest crime stats show motor vehicle theft in St. Petersburg is up 19 percent from last year.

But police also say car owners are making it too easy for thieves to steal.

In 2015, Pinellas County deputies and local police arrested 499 teens for auto theft, more than any other area in the state.