After spotting such a vehicle, say police, they get out of their cars, run up to the targeted vehicle to steal whatever they can, then jump back in their own vehicle and speed away.
“By now there have been six or seven different incidents that fit this description,” said Chief Rob Vincent of the Gulfport Police Department.
In one incident, a young man got into a running car and drove off only to discover there was a child in the back seat. The thief then crashed the car and got away on foot. The child was unharmed.
“In that case, we got some good DNA evidence that should help,” said Vincent. “Parents are advised not to leave their child in the car while the car is running. It’s a very bad move.”
In yet another incident, an armed victim approached a man trying to steal from his open work van that was parked in the driveway. The other men who were with the alleged perpetrator sped away in a blue or green Lexus.
“I would recommend against someone with a gun to approach someone trying to steal from them. It is very risky, and someone can’t defend using deadly force to protect your vehicle. The best course of action is to call 911,” said Vincent.
According to Chief Vincent, the Gulfport Police are not looking for any specific vehicles as they believe the suspects are using a variety of stolen cars.
The Gulfport Police Department strongly advises residents not to leave vehicles open, running or unlocked under any circumstances and to park their cars in the driveway, where they are safer, instead of in the street, if possible.