MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A Montgomery woman’s vehicle was stolen from her mother’s driveway in broad daylight a few weeks ago.
Chandra Williams, 29, said she drove to her mother’s house in Forest Hills on July 20 to pick up her two children during her lunch break.
Williams said she left her car running in the driveway while she went inside. When she came back outside, within minutes, her car was gone.
“I went in there for I want to say five, 10 minutes, and I pulled up all the way in her driveway behind her,” Williams said. “I came back outside, and my SUV was gone. I was completely taken off guard.”
According to Montgomery Police Capt. Saba Coleman, the city is seeing an increase in motor vehicle thefts this year. According to crimemapping.com, there were 83 reports of motor vehicle thefts in Montgomery in the past month. Since early February, which is as far back as the data goes, there has been a total of 407 reports made.
The Montgomery Police Department reported that 10 days after William’s vehicle went missing, the stolen SUV was spotted in the area of Ann Street and Madison Avenue. MPD attempted to conduct a traffic stop, but the vehicle refused. The suspect crashed the vehicle into a pole in the area of E. D. Nixon Avenue and Early Street.
“I never thought in a million years that it would happen to me,” Williams said. “I know that it happens every day, a person’s car is stolen, but I’ve never heard about somebody’s car being stolen in broad daylight.”
“The commonality seen in majority of the stolen vehicle cases are that the victims leave the vehicles running and unsecured,” Coleman said in a statement.
According to Williams’ police report, the keys to her SUV were left in the ignition.
“I did leave the keys in the ignition, but I did lock the car, or so I thought, with my keypad,” Williams said. “It was so crazy too because nobody heard anybody drive off.”
Williams urges people in the community to be guarded at all times.
“Just be aware of your surroundings no matter what area you’re in,” Williams said.
Williams said her personal belongings like her credit card and social security card were also inside the vehicle and that the suspect went as far as to attempt to take out a loan in her name but was fortunately unsuccessful.
“My identity was compromised,” Williams said. “They went to three ATM’s attempting to withdraw money. My card was already deactivated, and of course, they didn’t have my pin number, but it does show when a transaction was declined and it looked like they were just punching in numbers.”
Williams said she was glad her children were not inside the car when it was stolen.
“I don’t care if you just go into the gas station and you are just getting out of the car to pump gas,” said Williams. “Don’t leave your car on, don’t leave anything in there, close the door, and lock it.”
The driver of the stolen vehicle was identified as 24-year-old Cedric Thomas of Montgomery. He received minor injuries and was treated on scene by medics. Thomas was taken into custody and charged with first degree Receiving Stolen Property and then placed in the Montgomery County Detention Facility.