HATTIESBURG, Miss – We’ve all heard the phrase, “Out of sight out of mind.” Authorities in Lamar County said that could be the key to prevent auto theft. There have been more than a dozen recently in the county. We caught up with one man who’s still trying to recover his stolen Jeep.
After a relaxing Thursday night at grandma’s house, the Garris family turned in early but they woke up to an unwelcome surprise, “Woke up around 7 a.m. and my wife was like, hey honey where’s the Jeep at?”
Todd Garris said he walked outside and saw only one car in the driveway, “There’s no jeep; looks like they came in, in the night while we were sleeping.”
Garris said they normally park in the garage.“For some reason that night I left the car kind of parked in the drive way, blocking the garage and so she parked the Jeep on the other side.”
Lamar County Sheriff Danny Rigel said this was a crime of opportunity, “The keys were left inside the vehicle and we found two bicycles in close proximity and we can’t find who they belong too. So we don’t know if whoever stole the vehicle drove up on the bikes or not.”
Fran Munschauer suspects the thieves tested car doors in the neighborhood then got lucky at the Garris home, “I’m worried that they’re watching out for who we are, what’s in our neighborhood. I just don’t know.”
Sheriff Rigel said sometimes the community has a false sense of security. Recently there have been 16 auto burglaries in Oak Grove and over half of the car doors were left unlocked, “If you’re not in physical control of the vehicle, take the keys with you,” said Rigel.
Garris has one message for the responsible party, “To whoever did it, you know what I mean; no harm, no foul. I’d love to have the key back, right here in the ignition, in the driveway.”
The vehicle authorities need your help finding is a 2002 maroon Jeep Cherokee
The license plate is LMK390 with a Lamar County tag.
If you know where the Jeep is or who may have taken it, authorities want to hear from you.