KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. — Since September, Kalamazoo police reported 148 car thefts and nearly 200 vehicle break ins.
Neighboring police departments also reported an uptick during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for keyless cars.
Police said thieves are using a device that can access a key fob’s signal, that they can then use to unlock a car and start it.
Shawnteel Blodgett of Portage said that’s how someone was able to steal her Chevrolet Camaro right out of her driveway multiple times.
“It’s violating," Blodgett said. "I’ve never had anything like this happen before. At first, I was even second guessing myself, and I look out there and my car is gone.”
Blodgett said after her car was stolen twice, she installed a wheel lock to deter thieves. The lock wraps around the steering wheel and brake pedal.
She said she also put a camera on the dashboard and caught the alleged thieves in action as they attempted to steal her car for the third time, but they were unsuccessful.
Blodgett said she wants to warn other people to be extra cautious. She said she didn’t leave anything valuable in her car and it was locked.
"You think that you’re safe and by leaving your vehicle locked and taking your possessions out and you have your vehicle keys inside and in your possession and that’s not the case," she said.
Blodgett said she was able to get her car back quickly both times, with only minor damages.
She said she’s still concerned her car could be stolen again.
“I am worried, everyday that if I go to work or go somewhere if it’s going to be there and you shouldn’t have to worry about that in your own home," Blodgett said.
Blodgett said she gave police the dash cam video and had her car checked for fingerprints, but police said that could take a few months to process.
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