WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - A DC Councilmember's vehicle was stolen Thursday after it was left running in Northwest.
DC Councilmember Mary Cheh says she had stopped at a neighborhood bakery when her car was stolen.
Police say the incident happened in the 4300 block of Connecticut Ave. NW at around 12:40 p.m.
In a surveillance video obtained by FOX 5, you can see a car thief hop out of a Mercedes and into Cheh's Subaru Outback.
Cheh says no one was harmed during the incident and police are currently searching for her car.
She released the following statement on Thursday afternoon:
"Earlier today, I stopped by my neighborhood bakery for what I thought would just be a moment, and my car was stolen. No one was harmed and MPD is in search of my vehicle. These things can happen in an instant, they are crimes of opportunity, so I urge everyone to stay alert and take precautions—like double-checking that your car is locked, never leave it running, and using anti-theft devices. I’d like to thank the very kind gentleman who found my phone (apparently it was tossed from the car) and waited outside for over an hour in order for it to be recovered by MPD."
In D.C. there have been over a thousand more car thefts than this time last year: 2,098 in 2019 compared to 3,119 in 2020.
Carjackings, specifically are up 141 percent over last year, from 136 to 328.
Police say they haven’t found an organized ring of thieves, and this is mainly small groups of young men and kids with guns.
"They travel the city and use these vehicles to commit other criminal acts," said D.C. Police Patrol Chief Lamar Greene.
Greene says thieves often use one stolen car to steal others. He says in over 60 percent of cases, stolen cars are found abandoned, often a few miles from where they were stolen.
On Sunday, there was a car stolen with a 6-year old inside in Northwest. The car was recovered and the child was not hurt according to a police report.
Alan Henney tweets about crime in the D.C. region, listening to scanners at home.
"Usually 12 to 14 hours a day or more," he said.
He often tweets about multiple carjackings a day around D.C. and beyond.
"One of the problems I’ve noticed is this is not simply an opportunity crime," Henney said. "We got people looking for the opportunity, lots of them."
Henney says he commonly hears the same pattern described by police: stolen cars used to steal more cars, and sometimes the vehicles involved are pricey.
"Don’t think just because that’s a BMW next to you they’re not going to rob you," he said.
Police say make sure to lock your doors, don’t leave your car running unattended, especially with a child inside, and don’t sit on your phone with your car idling. It’s a lesson one man learned the hard way when he was carjacked in Northeast while on Facebook Live in September.