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College Station police see increase in car thefts

Posted at 7:10 PM, Jul 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-11 20:10:47-04

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Along with tire and rim thefts, stolen cars are also becoming an issue here in the Brazos Valley.

With no specific vehicle in mind, cars are being targeted and stolen.

Charlotte Benson is a College Station resident and her car was stolen in the last week of June.

She says her son was borrowing her car, and that’s when he realized.

“I hadn’t been by you know, I’m at work,” said Charlotte Benson, car theft victim. “That’s when he realized and said, well your vehicle has to be stolen.”

Benson says it was Tuesday, June 28, around 10 p.m. when her car was stolen. The next morning, her son realized the car was no longer in his driveway.

“That night, he never got out of the vehicle,” said Benson. “You know, we’re thinking he slept in the vehicle because we never see where he got out. The next day, that’s when we had seen all the movement of the vehicle.”

Benson immediately called College Station Police Department.

She believes if it wasn’t for cameras on surrounding houses and social media, she wouldn’t have gotten her car back so soon.

“I think we got it back only because the person that actually took the vehicle, they noticed that there were cameras in the area,” said Benson. “They never went back to get the vehicle.”

Benson’s vehicle was found in Bryan and the suspect had parked her car away from his house but still in sight.

Her car was gray with a red stripe down the hood with disabled veteran license plates, making her car easy to spot.

Officer David Simmons with College Station Police said there has been an increase in stolen vehicles.

“It honestly doesn’t matter what kind of car it is,” said Officer David Simmons, PIO, College Station Police Department. “If there is an opportunity, people are going to take your car.”

Benson is still unsure how they stole her car but Officer Simmons says there’s many ways to take a car without even a key in sight.

“They can pop the door, then pop the hood,” said Officer Simmons. “Once they get under the hood, they go into the computer system and they have some sort of instrument where they’ll able to plug it up, start the car, and drive away.”

After seeing an uptick in these crimes, Officer Simmons recommends you always take your keys with you.

“Make sure you take your keys inside as well,” said Officer Simmons. “If you leave your keys in there, that’s one of the first things these guys are looking for, and they’re going to start your car and be gone.”

He says getting a car alarm is also helpful.

“Go ahead and get an after-market alarm, something with a sensor that will automatically go off,” said Officer Simmons. “You can get a dash camera that has sensors on it. It will automatically notify you if there’s a bump to your car or something like that

On top of an alarm system, Officer Simmons says getting a camera that faces your car, gives them a better chance of catching the thieves

“Get a camera that faces your car,” said Officer Simmons. “That way, even if it’s not motion censored, you can still get a recording that’s on a loop. That way our detectives can look and see who possibly those guys are, maybe get positive identification.”

Benson says she’s thankful her son wasn’t harmed or that his house wasn’t broken into while the vehicle was being stolen, and that no one else was hurt.