DSP issues warning after rash of vehicle thefts

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NEW CASTLE COUNTY — Following a rash of vehicle thefts in the area, Delaware State Police issued a warning to the public about leaving their cars unattended while idling.

The DSP Troop 2 Criminal Investigative Unit has recently been handling incidents where a large majority of the thefts have occurred from gas stations in which a vehicle was left unattended, idling and unlocked.

The most common practice is a victim leaving their car running in a parking lot while they go into a store for a quick purchase, DSP said. Some car thieves look for cars idling in parking lots and once they see a car is left unattended, all they have to do is walk up and drive away.

DSP pointed to Delaware unattended motor vehicle law that states “No person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle shall permit it to stand unattended without first stopping the engine, locking the ignition, removing the key and effectively setting the brake thereon and, when standing upon any grade, turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway. For a first offense, a fine of $25 – $75 can be imposed.

DSP said the suspects in the most recent cases appear to be juvenile males.

Anyone with information was asked to contact the Troop 2 Criminal Investigative Property Crimes Unit at 365-8430. Information may also be provided by calling Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or online.