Majority of RVA car thieves found the keys in the car

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Car thefts in Richmond are up from this time last year. Smash-and-grabs and broken windows are more of a Hollywood stunt these days, because something most of us may do out of convenience is now an open invitation for thieves.

Chris Rader left his keys in his car's cup holder for convenience, which was exactly where a car thief found them when he wandered into Rader's open garage during a party around 10:40 on a Saturday night. Rader's home security camera caught the entire bizarre scene.

The would-be crook sideswiped the garage frame, then backed up into the lawn and finally ran over the lamp post before deciding to give up the ill-fated heist and running off on foot.

"I guess it was his first time backing out of the garage, because he cut it too soon," Rader said. "I mean, who in the world leaves their keys in their car?"

More than most people think. With cars becoming increasingly difficult to steal due to anti-theft technology, thieves are looking for help - and getting it from drivers who leave keys inside the vehicle.

According to a study released this year by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, more than 126,000 vehicles were reported stolen with the keys left inside between 2012 and 2014.

"The majority of the car thefts we see are crimes of opportunity," said Captain Darrell Goins, the commander of Richmond's second precinct.

Last year, thieves stole 960 vehicles in Richmond. 702 vehicles were taken as of September of this year.

Goins said most of the times, we are helping the thieves, especially in the winter when we warm up our cars.

"They notice the smoke is coming out the rear of the car, so they're going to come over [t]here [and] they going to look. 'I see some keys. Let me check this handle. The door's open!' They get in the car, put it in reverse and they're gone."

He said to not leave your car running while you go into a convenience store either, which happens all the time. Also, never leave your keys in the glove box or console.

Chris Rader said he knew better.

"'It's not going to happen to me.' [Then] it happened to us, and it can happen you at any time," said Rader.

The number one stolen vehicle in the city was the Honda Accord, which was stolen 46 times. Number two on the list is the Chevy Impala. Number three is the Nissan Altima. They are followed by the Honda Civic, the Ford Taurus and the Chevy Malibu.

Copyright 2015 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved