AURORA, Colo. -- The City of Aurora is turning to social media in an attempt to curb auto theft and to more quickly locate and return stolen cars.
“When someone calls in to tell us that their vehicle has been stolen, the officer will take the report and then tell the records technician that we need this information put out there,” said Crystal McCoy, Aurora Police Department’s public information officer.
McCoy said they hope motorists will check the postings and be on the lookout for the stolen vehicles.
“It will really help to have more eyes on this problem right now,” she said. “There have been 1136 vehicles stolen in Aurora so far this year.”
McCoy said thieves can easily break in to a car, if a window is loose or cracked open a bit.
“They’re also learning how to pop the locks and doors too,” she said.
Auto theft victims all across the metro area say the use of social media is a great idea.
“My son used social media when his car was stolen,” said Leslie Aldridge.
Brett Aldridge’s 2006 Acura TL was stolen from the parking lot of a bowling alley in nearby Thornton last December.
The suspects apparently rifled through his bowling bag and stole his keys.
“They went out to the parking lot and started pushing the (key fob) button until the lights went off,” he told Denver7 a few days later.
A family member spotted the car on 104th Avenue, followed it to the Kmart parking lot and called Thornton Police.
Police waited until the suspect came out and got into the car, before trying to apprehend him, but he sped away.
The car was recovered three months later, totaled.
The victim’s mom told Denver7 “it’s great” that Aurora PD is now tweeting out information about stolen cars. She thinks other departments should do the same.
McCoy said APD started its new Twitter account on Wednesday, Oct. 19. By Saturday evening, 11 vehicles were listed.
McCoy said she doesn’t know yet if motorists have responded to the tweets.
Every tweet will say, “If seen, do not approach. Call 911,” she said.
“Don’t attempt to follow it,” she added, “because you don’t know what’s inside that vehicle and we’ve found lots of very dangerous people or things inside of stolen vehicles. It’s not worth risking anyone’s safety.”
McCoy said social media is not a replacement for reporting to 911.
“What we’re asking,” she said, “is that you call 911 if you see the car. Don’t snap a photo of it. Don’t tweet back.”
She said the new account "sends a message to auto theives that no only is the police department watching you, the entire community is watching you."
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