Police: Maryland man’s decision to follow and recover his stolen car was not a smart move

Many newer vehicles have GPS tracking, but Montgomery County Deputy Chief Dinesh Patil thinks it’s a tool police should use to find a stolen car, not the owners.

A man from Darnestown, MD, who had his car stolen in his driveway was so frustrated he decided to take matters into his own hands. But Montgomery County Police said using Volvo’s tracking app to find the car itself in Southeast DC was not a smart move.

Many newer vehicles have GPS tracking, but Montgomery County Deputy Police Chief Dinesh Patil believes it’s a tool officers should use to find a stolen car, not owners.

“As you leave and take charge of the recovery, you don’t know who you’re dealing with. On the other side, you don’t know the neighborhood, ”he said. “Often cars are stolen for use in other crimes.

There could be a gun or drugs in the car, and it could have been used in a crime and need to be fingerprinted. The list of “what ifs” goes on and on.

Despite the disbandment of its auto theft unit due to budget cuts, police are still investigating stolen vehicles. Montgomery County Police report 1,137 vehicles have been stolen so far this year.

There is one common element between all of the cases, Patil said: the car has been unlocked.

He said that due to push button starts, “people leave their keys in the car for convenience.”

He said there is no role model for thieves, who can range from teenagers messing around to criminals looking for cars to use in other crimes.

“They just walk through neighborhoods, check doorknobs. And if they’re lucky they can come in; they find your iPad or cell phone or purse or something. But they’re really lucky if they find your car key in the car because people do, ”Patil said.

It’s a relatively easy, low-risk crime that involves virtually no confrontation and has a great reward, Patil said, so these attributes make unlocked car theft popular among criminals who share their successes on the streets. social networks.

For the most part, no one is injured, but Patil said he was concerned about escalating crime.

“We have had instances where these things are rising,” he said. “Imagine how many things you keep in your car. Your garage door opener is in there. Now they walk into your garage or, worse yet, decide to enter your house while you are sleeping. This is our worst case scenario that we don’t want to happen. And it is 100% preventable.

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