SAVANNAH, GA (January 23, 2015): Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police have released video footage of an auto theft in progress to urge citizens to think twice before leaving cars parked, running and unlocked.

After dark on Jan. 16, surveillance cameras at a west Savannah service station recorded a woman exiting her running car, then walking away without locking the door. Seconds later a male subject dressed in dark clothing circled the car, entered the driver’s side door, backed out of the parking space, and drove away.

The 16-year-old car thief was later identified by Metro’s Downtown Precinct detectives. The suspect was arrested on Sunday, Jan. 18, and charged with theft by receiving.

From Jan. 11-17, all four reported Downtown Precinct auto thefts resulted from vehicles being left unlocked and with keys inside.

The car stolen in the recording was recovered and returned to its owner. Roughly 80 percent of Savannah’s stolen automobiles are recovered. In most cases, however, vehicles are returned to owners in a damaged state.

SCMPD Police Chief Joseph (Jack) Lumpkin, Sr. urges citizens to be proactive in keeping occurrences of auto theft and all other crimes down by immediately reporting suspicious activity. Citizens can do so by calling 911 or the SCMPD non-emergency line at 912-652-6500.