As temperatures drop, police see an uptick in teens stealing unattended cars

“This is a crime of opportunity and we need to remove that opportunity.”

Edgar Linares
January 17, 2019 - 6:40 pm

By Edgar Linares

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It's tempting with these cold temperatures, but recently there’s been a few cautionary tales about the possible consequences of leaving your car running and unattended. 

In one such case, St. Paul police say a woman was taking her groceries and kids into her home near Ames Avenue and Hazelwood Street in St Paul on Wednesday evening. She left her Chrysler 300 running, and moments later, it was gone.

“This is a crime of opportunity and we need to remove that opportunity,” said Sgt. Mike Ernster with the St Paul Police Department. 

Ernster said three 15-year-old boys took the car, a Toyota Camry, according to surveillance video. He says the boys were driving a stolen Chrysler.

“Officers in the Western district were aware of these vehicles being taken on the East side and were on patrol being alert and came across the first vehicle that was taken,” said Ernster.

The boys fled from police on I-94 westbound reaching a speed of nearly 100 mph as they got close to Minneapolis. A supervisor decided to terminate the pursuit before anyone got hurt.
A short time later Minneapolis Police spotted the teens in the Chrysler. Ernster said that’s when the teens led them on a chase to Blaine where they ended up crashing the car into a pond. 

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“A 15-year-old male was taken into custody on scene. Two other males who fled from the vehicle went to a local gas station in the area and found another vehicle running and unattended at the gas pumps, and took that one and fled from the area,” described Ernster.

The teens were finally stopped in Big Lake after that stolen car was disabled using OnStar.

“People should not ever take anybody’s possessions, especially vehicles. But we shouldn’t also leave it out there with the chance that it can be taken,” said Sgt. Ernster.