February 12, 2007
AUGUSTA, Ga.---Stolen sets of wheels are hot on the road after a weekend rash of car thefts.
That includes the Oldsmobile deputies say Antonette Burgess took yesterday from the sheriff's department parking lot.
What's dangerous about this is there's no real trend. It can be any time of day and any place. And deputies say your family's safety depends on the way you react.
Laken Knox walked out of the Law Enforcement Center to find an empty parking spot.
"Crying. I was crying real bad," she said. "The car was gone."
Her Oldsmobile is one of seven cars to disappear in a 15 mile radius this weekend.
And numbers like that add up. In 2006, thieves made off with an average of 160 cars a month. That's almost two thousand for the entire year.
Reports show those thefts do not seem to follow a pattern.
It's happening any time of day--morning, noon, or night--and anywhere from shopping centers to the sheriff's department to your home.
Investigators say once the thief decides to take your car, chances are the thief already knows where you are and if you're at home.
They say if you see something like that happening, the best thing to do is stay put.
"We certainly don't want the public putting themselves in any danger," said Lt. Tony Walden. "Let's face it: your health is not worth your vehicle being stolen."
Lt. Walden says if you call 911 immediately, chances are they'll find your car. About 95 percent eventually turn up.
That's Laken's hope. But while she's waiting...
"I have to borrow cars until then," she said. "Got to try to get to work best I can."
For now, Laken might not be able to go everywhere. But the woman accused of taking her ride isn't going anywhere.
Deputies are still looking for Laken's car. As we mentioned, deputies say car thefts are usually random. All of these recent reports happened from noon to 11 p.m. in every region across Augusta, which means you never know when it will happen.
Investigators say people tend to react the wrong way. Sometimes victims go after the thief, and that's not a good idea since there's a good chance that person could be armed.