Theft victim catches suspect on camera - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Theft victim catches suspect on camera

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EAST RIDGE, TN. (WRCB) -- An East Ridge family was warming up their SUV, when it was stolen from their front yard.

The thief got away with car seats, golf clubs, and a DVD player, but not without leaving something behind: video evidence.

It took Heather Blanken and her boyfriend a year to save up for a Chevy Tahoe.

It took just three minutes for it to be stolen from their front yard.

"Normally he uses his key fob to lock it, but he just didn't do it that day," Heather says.

It was 7:00 a.m., half a mile from the East Ridge Police Department.

It was like any other Tuesday morning.

Heather's boyfriend went out to warm up the car.

What happened next was all caught on camera.

"The way it looks on the surveillance video, they had to know his routine," Heather says.

What appears to be a silver Dodge Charger drives by the house twice, and then parks at a nearby business.

The thief would come back for it later.

A woman gets out not noticing this surveillance camera on the building beside her.

The camera shows the woman running to the house.

She jumps in the SUV, flashes her lights, possibly signaling an accomplice, and then the truck is gone.

It wasn't only the SUV stolen.

Heather says her baby's car seat, stroller, and $3,000 worth of golf clubs were in the SUV.

She says she's thankful her children weren't in the car.

She's handed the video over to East Ridge police, who say these types of crimes are common this time of year.

"That definitely could aid in the investigation," says Erik Hopkins, with East Ridge police.

But Heather worries her case is not a top priority.

That's why she says she's taking it into her own hands.

She has this message for the thief: "I will come find you, because I'm not going to just sit back and watch."

"I mean, I watched $40,000 go down the road," Heather adds. "It's ridiculous. Get a job and pay for your own stuff. Don't steal."

The Tahoe was insured, but Heather says her deductible is too much for the family to pay right now.

The gold Tahoe is a 2003 model.

The tag number: TN 636 YBC.

If you've seen the vehicle, or recognize the woman in the video, call East Ridge police at (423)622-1725.

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