URBANA, Ill., (WCIA) — Imagine moving to a new town, and within days, your car is stolen with your tools and clothing inside.
That happened to one couple in Urbana on Sunday, near Oregon Street and Lincoln Avenue. Jeff Springer drove it in the morning, and by the afternoon, he said it was gone.
Springer and his wife moved to town just days before on Friday.
“It’s awful. We’re just trying to find it,” Stacey Drahota, Springer’s sister-in-law, said.
It’s a white, Ford F-350. Springer said it was turned off and he had his keys with him inside the home.
Mike Cervantes, a lieutenant with Urbana Police, said that’s not usually the case.
“The reports we take as police officers are most often people leaving their keys in the vehicle, leaving the vehicle running unattended,” Cervantes said.
He said this year, car theft is down in Urbana, averaging about five cars a month. In July and August, he said 15 were stolen and so far in September and October, 7.
University of Illinois Police said they’re seeing the same trend.
“The numbers this year are actually lower than they were last year,” Grant Briggs, UIPD detective, said.
He said they’ve had a few cars stolen this year, two within days of when the Springer’s truck was stolen. One of those thefts happened on Sunday, the same day, the Springer’s truck was stolen. It happened just down the street from them, at Goodwin Avenue and Oregon Street.
“In one of the instances, one vehicle was recovered shortly thereafter, the other one, the vehicle has not been located yet,” Briggs said.
He added that one of the cars was stolen within 20 minutes of being unattended, the other was left for several days with keys inside.
But, both Urbana police and UIPD said this can be prevented.
“Make sure you have your keys secured,” Briggs said.
Cervantes said technology can help too.
“With a lot of tracking software, you’d be tracking your own vehicle, apps, phones, potentially through AirTags or other services out there,” he said.
Springer said his Ford truck had tracking technology inside, but it has since been disabled after being stolen on Sunday.
Police could not stress enough the importance of locking your cars and keeping your keys with you at all times.