Police in Northwest Baltimore are urging residents to stop leaving their cars running unattended, after making three arrests in three separate car thefts within hours of each other this weekend.
"We have seen reports of stolen vehicles lately, where many of the vehicles' keys were left inside of the running cars," police said in a statement Thursday. "We want to remind people not to leave your vehicle running and unattended. Thieves are [opportunistic] and this makes it very easy for them to commit their crime."
The string of thefts in question — which occurred on Saturday — began about 6 p.m., when police were called to the 4400 block of Reisterstown Road, where a stolen 2006 Chevy Trailblazer was being driven, according to a vehicle tracking system, police said. An officer spotted the vehicle, then followed "at a safe distance" until the driver exited the vehicle in the 400 block of E. Baltimore Street, police said.
Jeffrey Johnson, 21, the man driving the vehicle, was then arrested and charged with stealing the vehicle. Johnson's arrest had not been listed in online court records as of Thursday, and he could not be reached for comment.
At 7:30 p.m., officers were called to the 4800 block of Gwynn Oak Avenue for a report of a stolen 2005 Ford Focus. Officers patrolling the area then spotted the car driving southbound on Reisterstown Road. The driver then noticed police were following him "and began taking elusive measures, striking a parked vehicle," police said.
Malik Perry, 21, who was driving the vehicle, fled on foot but was caught. He has also been charged with stealing a vehicle.
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Perry, who has been released on $7,500 bail, did not have an attorney listed in court records and could not be reached for comment.
Shortly after, police were called to the 2700 block of N. Rosedale Street for a report of a stolen 2004 Acura TL, and a description of the car was broadcast citywide.
Shortly after that, an officer responding to a reported burglary spotted a suspect at the rear of the location and chased him. After catching the 17-year-old boy, the officer searched him and found the keys of the Acura, which was located several blocks away, police said.
The teen, who was not identified, was charged with stealing the vehicle, police said.
"In each of these cases, the owners left the vehicles running with the keys inside," police said. The vehicles have been returned to their owners, police said.