News 12 at 11 o'clock/ Wednesday, Dec. 11th, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- It doesn't matter the year, make, or model, car thieves are taking what they can get this time of year.
In the past 10 days, deputies say they've been taking more than usual.
It's been a theme all year long. From January to October this year there were 215 more car thefts than the same time last year. Now the sheriff's office wants to make sure you're doing everything you can to make sure you're not a victim.
Andy Johnson says he's one of the lucky ones
"He wanted it for the wheels and tires, he wanted it for the lift kit," said Johnson. "I was on a long list of many, but he didn't get mine."
Last week he left his truck unlocked, parked overnight at Roadrunner Cafe on Washington Road..
"Stupidity on my account for leaving it," he said.
When he came back in the morning, his car was still there, but torn a part like someone tried to steal it.
"Steering column is busted. Mess in my truck. I mean mess. he destroyed it," said Johnson.
Now he's facing more than 1500 dollars in repairs before he can drive it, but unlike many others, he still has a car.
"You never think it'll happen to you," said Johnson. "It happened to me."
On Friday, an undercover sting arrested Markeith Golphin, charging him with multiple car thefts at Gas stations along Washington Road.
"We did do a concentrated patrol ." said Richmond County Sheriff's Office Lt. Lewis Blanchard. "We had some undercover officers who caught and made an arrest on that."
Lt. Blanchard says most of those were crimes of opportunity, with cars left unlocked and even running.
"People think I'm just gonna run inside for a minute so they leave their car running leave their car unlocked and that's just a huge target," he said.
Just when they thought it was over, more cars went missing Tuesday night.
"The agent noticed that the suburban was on the lot. The next morning we came in it just disappeared," said Triangle Rent-a-Car Regional Manager Sam Kingsbury.
He says their brand new black suburban was stolen off their lot Tuesday night.
"I've done this for 17 years. I've never experienced anything like this, especially us having the key, having the spare key."
With no broken glass on the ground they don't know what happened to the locked car. Not they are just one of many trying to figure out what to do.
"We're gonna catch a lot of people and we're gonna put them where they belong; however, there's still gonna be other people who are out there committing those same types of crimes," said Blanchard.
The Sheriff's Office says the cars stolen last week were already sold off.
The people Triangle Rent-a-Car are asking for your help locating their car. A black 2014 suburban with Georgia plate AZI3908. If you have seen it call the sheriffs office.