Dude, Where's My Car?

PARAGOULD, AR -- Thieves are on the prowl in Paragould and they're looking to steal your ride. 12 cars have been stolen in one month from homes within the Paragould city limits. It's enough action to make anyone wonder. Is your car really safe anywhere?

"I went outside to step in my car and there was no car. I ran inside and said honey, my car is gone!" says Leigh Simpson who had her car stolen last week.

Leigh Simpson's car was stolen from her own driveway last Tuesday. After calling the police, Leigh and her husband began to realize they were just another victim of car theft in Paragould. Her car makes the third from her neighborhood in the last month and the 12th car in Paragould.

"I thought with my purse in the car locked up it would be fine. It wasn't, apparently," says Simpson.

And it's caused her quite a headache. Not only was her transportation gone, but so were many of her belongings.

"They found our car 45 minutes later after we talked to the police. Apparently, there had been other cars stolen and they were parked there as well. The car was just trashed," says Simpson.

Another problem is dealing with her insurance company, something she says has been an ordeal of its own.

"The front dash was beat in really bad and the odometer. The seats were cut up, just vandalized," says Simpson.

And to make matters even worse, the car was almost paid for.

"Not when you have three payments left and you have a great car and you're going to be done worrying with it. I don't know. There's just no way to describe it. You're not prepared," says Simpson.

With spoke with Lt. Tony Williams, a Detective with the Paragould Police Department to find out who might be stealing all these vehicles around town and why there seems to have been so many. He says the majority of the vehicles are being stolen from neighborhoods at night, and surprisingly, most of the cars have been recovered.

"The people that are doing this are just walking from residence to residence looking in the cars and if the keys are in the ignition or laying in the seat, it's a free ride to them," says Lt. Williams.

But why? Lt. Williams says there's stealing a little bit of money's worth of electronics from the vehicles all for the dangerous thrill of driving a stolen car.

"Basically people have been in them joy riding. They'll leave them at certain places throughout the city. There's not really any predetermined place that they've left them," adds Lt. Williams.

So far, no suspects have been arrested with any of the car thefts. Lt. Williams says the best security net for keeping your vehicle in your possession is fairly simple. You should install a motion light where you park your vehicle, lock your doors and most definitely, take your keys inside.