The V.I. Police Department wants to remind the public that is it illegal to leave vehicles running while away from them. The practice of some people to leave their car running while they go into a store “for just a minute,” is both unlawful and unsafe.
Several vehicles on all three islands have been stolen because owners have stepped away from their cars while leaving the engines running.
According to police, if officers encounter a vehicle with the engine running, and the owner not in close proximity, that owner will get a citation.
Several Virgin Island residents have reported that their cars have been stolen at gas stations and convenience stores after parking and leaving the keys in the car while they went into the store for a few minutes. This type of car theft is a crime of opportunity. Sometimes criminals loiter around gas stations and convenience store waiting for the opportunity to steal cars.
Females are sometimes targeted in these scenarios. When a female leaves her car running and walks away from it, is very likely that her purse is still in the vehicle, according to police. If a car is stolen, the thief might have taken the person’s identification, address, and house keys.
Remember, a criminal can get into a person’s car and drive off within a matter of seconds. Don’t give them the opportunity. Turn off the engine, take out the keys, and lock the doors every time.