HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FLA - Detectives have noticed a trend of more auto theft crimes in the county due to people leaving their key fobs inside their cars.
Sgt. Troy Morgan said teens are car hopping and not looking for unlocked cars, but cars with the key fobs left behind. Sgt. Morgan said teens are taking those cars for joyrides. He spoke about a recent case involving a 15-year-old young man who was arrested. He said the teenager admitted he stole a few cars last month.
"The potential for bad things to happen to them (the teens), as well as anybody out here is a public safety concern," Sgt. Morgan said.
Sgt. Morgan said the 15-year-old committed the crime in his own neighborhood. He said Taylor McGovern's car was stolen because he accidentally left the key fob in it.
"He got blunts all over the floor. We found panties (and) some chicks bra (and) tampons," McGovern said.
McGovern said his brand new car was trashed in 48 hours. He said the teen put 268 miles on it.
"We haven't even cleaned it. This is how the car was left when we got it back," McGovern said.
Yvette Jones lives in the same neighborhood. Her car was messed up after the teen took it for a joy ride too. The car does not start.
"This affected not just me, but my children (and) my business. I'm a realtor and I can't show properties now," Jones said.
Jones and McGovern said they cannot afford to pay for the repairs to fix their cars right now.
"Leaving my keys in the car, no I wouldn't (do it) because my life depends on it," Jones said.
Authorities said many people do the opposite and leave their key fobs in their cars. Deputies want people to stop forgetting to take their key fobs with them because it would help cut down on auto theft crimes.
"I left my keys in the car. I paid for it," McGovern said.
Authorities said the 15-year-old faces several charges, including grand theft and burglary of an automobile.