SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — At least 22 vehicles have been stolen within the last two weeks in Utah’s state capitol.
It’s happening all over the city and police said the victims are all but giving their cars away.
Police warned taking the keys out of the car seems like a no-brainer, but all of the victims failed to do it.
Matt Lopez just moved to Salt Lake City from Chicago. His welcome gift was hand delivered by thieves.
“I thought these two windows were down like we had left them open for some reason. When I opened the car, the glass just came pouring down,” Lopez said.
Lopez shelled out $1,500 to repair the windows. The thieves picked through moving boxes stored inside and took several items.
“It is kind of disheartening, kind of like, welcome to Salt Lake and you get this happening,” Lopez said.
Had he left the keys inside, the entire car likely would have been stolen, too.
“Instead of the little scooters, they’ll just take the car,” Richard Pasmann said.
Pasmann’s car has been stolen twice, most recently in 2018.
Embarrassed as he is, dozens of other drivers do it, too.
“Well, we want to keep the car warm or we are running in and forget,” Pasmann said.
“It has been a little chilly but still, come on,” Salt Lake Police Detective Jess Perea said.
Perea said the car thefts are happening across the city. There’s no clear group involved either. However, one suspect is accused of using a debit card left inside one of the cars.
“This is something that happens in the wintertime, not in early spring, the first of May,” Perea said.
Police urge drivers to keep their doors locked, take the keys out of the car and remove any valuables.
“Actually you do feel violated,” Pasmann said.
Lehi Police are also looking for two men they say broke into 12 cars last week.