Call Collett: Thieves prey on drivers at gas stations and car dealerships

Call Collett
Stolen Car

A Lowcountry woman took her car to the dealership for maintenance, and within an hour it was stolen out of the mechanic’s bay.  A News 2 investigation found  hundreds of cars have been stolen in the City of North Charleston so far this year.  

Tauquincy Goodloe needed work on her new Hyundai Sonata. Some 45 minutes after dropping off her car on September 4, she got the stunning news that someone stolen it.  

Eyewitnesses described the suspect to police as a white man with red hair and glasses. There’s no video of him.  The cameras weren’t working at the time because the Hyundai North Dealership was under construction. The mechanic told police after working on the car, he lowered it and turned to work on his computer. The man jumped in the car and drove away.

“I was numb. I was in shock. Who goes to the dealership thinking their car is going to get stolen?”  Tauquincy explained to News 2.

A News 2 investigation revealed this isn’t an isolated case. A similar theft happened at the Toyota dealership 17 days later. And so far, 608 cars have been stolen in the city of North Charleston this year.

“It is a crime of opportunity,” Detective George VanTine of the North Charleston Police Department explained.

He says most cars have been stolen from gas stations. Detective VanTine says often drivers leave their car unlocked and running.

“They’re going inside the gas station or the convenient store, and someone walking by sees it and jumps in,” he explained.

He says thieves want the cars for parts or for short-term transportation.

“They are driving around for a little bit, and then they ditch them,” he explained.  

North Charleston police busted Devin Ray Anderson joy riding in a stolen car in September. Detectives say he confessed to stealing four cars in two weeks.

The man who stole Tauquincy’s car hasn’t been found, but her car was recovered within days of the theft.

Detective VanTine says never leave valuables in plain sight inside your car.  That will invite thieves to break-in.  

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