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Police: Rash of vehicle thefts from unattended idling cars occurring in New Castle County

Amanda Parrish
Middletown Transcript

NEW CASTLE COUNTY -- Numerous vehicle thefts have occurred recently in New Castle County, mostly at gas stations where people are leaving idling cars unattended and unlocked, Delaware State Police said.

Police said victims have been leaving their cars running in a parking lot while they go into a store for a quick purchase. The suspects look for cars idling in parking lots and once they see a car is left unattended, they enter the vehicle and drive away.

Delaware law 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 to $75 can be imposed, police said.

The suspects in the recent cases appear to be juvenile males. Anyone with information can contact the Troop 2 Criminal Investigative Property Crimes Unit at 302-365-8430. Information may also be provided by calling Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or online at delaware.crimestoppersweb.com.