Police investigating 3 carjackings with people inside - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Police investigating 3 carjackings with people inside

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

For the third time in two days a thief stole a car with a person inside. 

READ MORE | UPDATE: Stolen truck, child found on Shepherd Road

Police are not ready to answer our questions or grant interviews as they continue their investigation, but police records show dozens of vehicles have been stolen in Chattanooga over the last few weeks and many of those cases have one thing in common -- the keys were left inside.

READ MORE | UPDATE: SUV stolen from Lee Highway with baby inside; suspect arrested

In the most recent case, a trip to Lowes turned terrifying for an 18-year old woman. She was sleeping in the backseat while her boyfriend was inside. She told police when she woke up a stranger was behind the wheel. Startled by her questions, he got out of the truck and took off.

"It's pretty concerning," said driver Trumond Martin.

A scary situation that has happened three times in two days.

"I feel like that's an easy steal for somebody," said driver Michael Breeden, "For your car to be on, for instance, I throw something in the back seat and my car is on and they kind of jump in and drive away with my stuff."

Sunday, someone stole a truck while the owner paid for gas. His 3-year old son was in the back seat. The truck and child were later found unharmed. Police are still looking for the suspect. Then 24 hours later police said Terry Nix stole an SUV with a 5 month-old baby inside. Her mother was inside this Mapco.

The keys were left inside the vehicles in all three cases.

Channel 3 learned auto thefts in Chattanooga may be more common than you think.

A new crime map tool shows there have been more than 300 vehicle thefts reported since May. Already this month there have been 50 reports.

"I never exit the vehicle and leave it running," said Breeden, "There's just too many instances of this happening across the country, really."

While people say they try not to make it easy for thieves, records show 50 of the 125 vehicles stolen in the last 30 days had the keys inside.

"Foolish to leave your car running," said Breeden, "That's just foolish."

It's not clear if the three cases are connected or when we will hear from Chattanooga police about the kidnappings and thefts.   

Police did release a short video on social media late Wednesday asking people to lock their cars, but it did not include any details about their investigation.

Count on Channel 3 to continue asking for information in these cases and bring you the latest. 

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