Auto Theft Warning

Auto Theft Warning

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John Daley reportingDouble warnings about a common and potentially dangerous crime--auto theft.

We got reports of at least four stolen cars around the valley Monday.

Police say auto theft is on the increase and often it happens for a simple reason--the driver gets out to quickly do something and leaves the keys in the car with the motor running.

A recent rash of car thefts are in the spotlight after Sandy police spotted a stolen car with stolen plates and tried to make an arrest on Monday.

A pair of suspects led police on a long chase, reaching speeds of 60 miles per hour, which ended in a collision with a police car. Both suspects were slightly injured.

Sgt. Bill O'Neal/ Sandy Police Dept.: "The majority of the pursuit was through residential neighborhoods and ended up here at city hall."

Monday morning in Kearns an unrelated car theft left Erin Eliot out of luck and out of cash.

On her way to work, Erin goes to quickly drop off her son at her mom's house, leaving her car in the driveway running with the keys inside.

Erin Eliot/ Victim of Auto Theft: "I just usually lock the car. Of all days I decided not to. I just ran in and dropped him off. And the one day I don't lock it, it's gone."

In the car was $3000 cash. Erin Eliot, a single mom, had just cashed her tax return.

The suspect: A 16-year-old white male wearing a red ball cap.

The car is a 2003 teal green Ford Focus with leopard seat covers and the license plate 500WGY.

Sgt. Rosie Rivera/ Salt Lake Co. Sheriff's Office: "This morning I think it was more of a crime of opportunity. It was there. It was available. Somebody walking by needed a ride. It was easy for him."

Erin says worst of all, the money was to go for a trip with her kids to visit her ailing grandfather in California.

Erin Eliot/ Victim of Auto Theft: "Yeah, I'd gotten it back and cashed it, and we were going to plan this trip and get ready to take off. Now I dn't know what I'm going to do."

Erin's son Kace Eliot says, "I'm sad and mad."

Adding insult to injury for Erin Eliot, she says the car thief honked and waved at her as he pulled away in her car.

By the way, the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office says car theft is on the rise.

So far this year, 153 passenger vehicles--that's cars and trucks--have been stolen in Salt Lake County alone. That's nearly two a day.

Toyota Camry and Honda Accord top the list of stolen cars. Police say they have a reputation of being easy to break into.

And remember, never leave the keys in the car with the engine running.

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